By. Alexander D. Lopez | Manila Bulletin
Cotabato City – A peace advocacy group recently made an appeal to Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, chair of the Senate Committee on Barangay Affairs to hold the coming public hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a neutral place where ordinary citizens from communities in Sulu “can freely talk and register their views” on the proposed law “without fear and reprisal from their own political leaders.”
In a statement sent to the media here, the Bawghug Center for Peace and Human Rights said that holding the hearing “at the provincial Capitol in Sulu in the lair of Vice Governor Sakur Tan will be totally useless and a complete waste of government resources.”
The group expressed apprehension that the scheduled hearing, if done in the capitol would “already be scripted.”
Senator Marcos was expected to be in Sulu on Wednesday to conduct the hearing on BBL.
“How can there be genuine consultation when the Vice Governor dictates who will speak, who will attend and where the participants will sit, the group pointed out, adding that they received reports of pre-announced instruction that all those who will attend the public hearing should go against the BBL so as not to embarrass the political leaders who have already opposed the BBL in the congressional hearings in Manila.
The group alleged that the same situation also happened when the Ad Hoc Committee of Congressman Rufus Rodriguez was in Sulu for the same hearing on BBL.
“What is the use of a public hearing if what is to be said is already screened, imposed and controlled?”
The group stressed that the Tausugs, if given complete freedom to express themselves, will surely refuse a process of change from the current state of violence, corruption, plunder, warlordism, rampant human rights violation and grinding poverty that surely benefits only those who are in power.
They also called upon President Aquino to make the promise of “Matuwid na daan” a reality in Sulu.
“Such promise can only be institutionalized through the passage of an undiluted Bangsamoro Basic Law and the establishment of a truly autonomous Bangsamoro government,” the group added.