“Reminds that there are critical issues that must be discussed in public hearings for BBL to be inclusive and comprehensive.”
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. will not be stampeded to rush the public hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and to immediately wrap up the process following Malacañang’s insistence to pass the bill by June.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, maintained that his action on the measure will be based on his intention to craft a good law and not driven by a “deadline” set by other people.
He stood his ground even as the House and Senate leadership had agreed to pass the BBL by June before the end of the current second regular session of the 16th Congress.
“Haste could be a fatal waste. The BBL is not a magic pill to stop the war in Mindanao, although it’s an important element in the quest for lasting peace. I will try to meet the proposed deadline. But I will not sacrifice the necessity of getting it right,” Marcos said.
Marcos said the need to remedy the constitutional infirmities of the present BBL draft is one of the main reasons why prudence is the better course of action than merely trying to meet an obviously short timetable.
He noted that during a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, many of the legal luminaries opined that several provisions of the BBL are unconstitutional.
“Kaya talagang marami pa kaming trabaho para maayos at mawala ‘yung unconstitutional provisions,” Marcos said.
Marcos suspended public hearings on the BBL after the January 25 Mamasapano clash where 44 Special Action Force commandos were killed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
But before the BBL hearings can resume Marcos said he needs to wait for the reports of the inquiries on the Mamasapano incident conducted separately by the police, MILF, and the committee report of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, chaired by Senator Grace Poe.
“Ang importante dito ay mailagay natin lahat ng experience na natutunan sa Mamasapano para talagang ‘pag napasa na ito at i-implement ay talagang magkakaroon ng matagumpay na kapayapaan sa Muslim Mindanao,” he said.
Likewise, Marcos said there are other practical considerations on governance and administration that need to be clarified.
“Sinasabi ko na noon bago pa ang Mamasapano, may mga problema ‘yan (BBL) sa administration, sa mga governance, at sa power-sharing. Buti naman at ‘yung ibang mga isyu ay napapag-usapan na. Pero ‘yun pa rin ay kailangan pa rin naming ayusin yun,” Marcos said on Thursday in a radio interview.
“So, titingnan natin at hindi naman siguro kailangan na sabihin na i-madali. Delikado ‘yang magmadali, dahil pag nagmamadali ay marami pang hindi maliwanag,” he added.
Among others, Marcos said he intends to include in the agenda of his panel’s public hearings the issue raised by the indigenous people (IP) in Mindanao.
“Nandoon (sila) sa Senado kahapon (Wednesday) at sinasabi walang binabanggit tungkol sa kanila dahil sila naman daw ang tunay na orihinal na taga Mindanao. At baka mawala lahat sa kanila ‘yung kanilang mga lupain, lahat ng kanilang kultura, lahat ng kanilang kasaysayan, lahat ng mga reporma na kanilang ginagawa,” he said.