Manila Standard Today - Senate majority will sign BBL substitute

News & Interviews
11 August 2015

By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Francisco Tuyay | Manila Standard Today

Featured-image-Manila-Standard-TodaySenator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday he was sure to get the majority signature in the committee report containing the substitute bill for the Malacañang-backed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“I am sure it will get the majority signature because that was what we talked about,” Marcos, the head of the Senate’s local government committee, told reporters.

“So we’ll get the majority signature today and then we can proceed with the interpolation and the period of amendments after that.”

Marcos made his statement even as the Moro National liberation Front under its newly-elected vice chairman, Punduma Sani, said the BBL will have a very rough sailing in the Bangsa Moro Homeland as the MNLF pursue the 1996 Jakarta peace accord for its implementation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Saudi Arabia this month.

Sani said the 1996 Jakarta Peace Agreement with the MNLF and the Philippine government, which is at the last stage of negotiations, will be the “sword of Damocles over the BBL.

“It would be folly for the government to count the MNLF or chairman Nur Misuari out. The MNLF now feels more invigorated and more intensely enthusiastic to pursue the Bangsa Moro cause,” Sani said.

“President Aquino’s betrayal of the MNLF to produce the BBL is motivated by his desire to protect the Cojuangcos’ business interest in Malaysia, but it cannot be accepted by the front.”

Marcos  will deliver the sponsorship speech on the substitute bill on Wednesday because he still needs to explain thechanges. He promised to answer the questions to be raised by his colleagues in the interpellation period

Senate Bill 2894, under Committee Report 200, shortly titled “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” is 100 pages and contains 17 articles and 215 sections.

Marcos’ bill is a substitute to Senate Bill 2408 that Malacañang submitted to the Senate and referred to his local government committee on Sept. 15, 2014.

“In fulfillment of my promise and in compliance with our agreement during the [senators’] caucus last week, I filed today the substitute bill which I firmly believe will establish a strong mechanism for peace in Mindanao,” Marcos said in a statement.

He described the bill as an all-inclusive measure since it carried the applicable advocacies, positions, and proposals of all the stakeholders.

Marcos completed 12 public hearings and one briefing that started on Sept. 23, 2014, plus two separate hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes led by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The last hearing was on June 9.

One hearing each was conducted in Cotabato City, Marawi City, Tawi-Tawi, Jolo and Zamboanga City.

“The number of hearings and resource persons speak for themselves,” Marcos said.

“Contrary to the accusation that I was delaying the BBL, I in fact focused on it and we even worked during the recess [of the Senate]. I’m confident that I will be vindicated by my proposed measure.”