CNN Philippines - Marcos hints of substitute to BBL

News & Interviews
6 June 2015

By  CNN Philippines Staff | CNN Philippines

downloadMetro Manila (CNN Philippines) — As chair of the senate's Local Government Committee, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. believes that form — rather than speed — should be the most important issue of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The senator told CNN Philippines that the bill's June 11 deadline does not actually appear in the government's Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He said that October 2015 would actually be a more crucial date for the passage of the bill, given that the month is the deadline for the filing of Certificate of Candidacies in next year's elections. Candidates in the Bangsamoro region would have to know by then if they will be filing their certificates to run as officials of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or the Bangsamoro region.

At it's current form, Marcos told CNN Philippines that the bill does not ensure lasting peace in Mindanao. While negotiations where underway, the senator said that "so many stakeholders were actually not consulted."

"How did it happen that the MILF spoke for all other groups?"

Amina Rasul, Director of the Philippine Council on Islam and Democracy, begs to differ. She told CNN Philippines that a peace process does not necessarily have to be overtly consultative, since some negotiations are done through back-door channels.

"The consultations should take place after the agreement, when you work on legislation," she explained.

Looking ahead, Marcos hopes for more comprehensive legislation.  "I will probably end up sponsoring a substitute bill."

He told CNN Philippines that he will start with the draft version of the BBL and remedy constitutional, administrative, and economic issues, among others.

He believes that the BBL's passage should not depend on whatever administration holds office. Rather, "It depends on the quality of the final form."