By Jelly F. Musico | InterAksyon
MANILA, Philippines -- Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said nobody from Malacanang has been forcing him to hasten the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
"In fairness to everyone, I have friends in the (Aquino) administration but they are not telling me to hurry up. They are just asking me how’s the bill," Marcos said in the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay at the Luneta Hotel along Kalaw Street.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, said Senate President Franklin Drilon also discussed with him the BBL “but he also speaks of other bills too.”
Marcos told the reporters that he has been consulting with several lawyers and former military officials on how he can speed up the drafting of the committee report.
”I discussed with them the economic provisions as well as the constitutional issues. Some are clear, some are not,” Marcos said.
He said it would be up to his colleagues in the Senate to decide on the questionable provisions of the Palace-backed bill.
However, Marcos said he is ready to defend the BBL committee report which would be a product of 14 Senate hearings, including five held in Mindanao.
”What we’re trying to do is to find a version that we will be able to approve and present it to the senators and tell them that all constitutional issues that you have brought have been given solution,” Marcos said.
”We have to find a compromise whether or not what I think is ideal and what other senators think is ideal,” he added.
Marcos said part of the committee report is a substitute bill which, he earlier clarified would be still based on the draft BBL submitted by Malacanang to Congress.
While he expressed readiness to defend the BBL, Marcos admitted that the BBL is not the one-time solution to peace problem in Mindanao.
”There will still be fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. There are still Abu Sayyaf. We have to deal with these other problems,” Marcos said.
Marcos proposed that the BBL should be accompanied with economic development that would encourage the people to give up their guns and have a decent life.
”There should be accompanied economic development in the area because in my mind if you have someone a good prospect for employment and a decent living, shelter, education... that, I think, is critical part of the BBL,” he said.