InterAksyon - 115 AMENDEMENTS | Marcos to submit substitute, overhauled BBL bill

News & Interviews
6 August 2015

By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon

InterAksyon_featured_imageSenator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., on Thursday gave assurance that he will submit on Monday next week a substitute bill on the Palace-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) containing 115 amended provisions, including the deletion of items deemed unconstitutional.

Speaking before the weekly Kapihan sa Senado, Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local governments, there are two more items left yet unfinished: On the decommissioning process and the safety of tenure for the civil service workers in Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Marcos said there was no intention from him or the panel to delay the submission of the measure for plenary debates because he wanted to totally fine-tune the proposed measure in order for it to be consonant with existing laws and the Constitution.

"There’s no reason for us to delay the process, but I am confident that, when people will see the final version they will understand why we have been very careful and that we tried to address every problem or shortcoming or lack of clarity that we encountered in the draft BBL," Marcos said.

Marcos said at least 115 items were amended, "major and minor."

Marcos said his panel intended to publish a matrix vis-a-vis the original Palace-drafted BBL for comparison and clarity. "I think when the matrix is published, you will see exactly where the changes are."

Also, Marcos disclosed, the panel widened the scope of the transition government in order to include some sectors not included.

"It think the major change that we did is the inclusiveness. Whereas, the draft BBL talks solely about the MILF, we learned our lessons from our hearings and tried to involved the sultanates, tried to involve the other tribes, tried to involve the LGUs, business communities, all of these elements that were not tightly in the radar of the draft BBL," he said.

He added that there is no chance the Senate will adopt the original form of BBL, since there are provisions not consistent with provisions of the Constitution.

Marcos cited the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, which, in the original concept, was all comprised of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which he said would be overly favorable to MILF and not exactly fair when it comes to the elections.

"So, what we tried to do is to make the membership of the BTA more inclusive. We have tried to include, as I said, all the stakeholders we have identified during the hearings."

"Now, it is still going to be led by the MILF because we must accept the idea that the peace agreement was written by the Philippine government and the MILF, so they will still take the lead," he said.