Dateline – Bongbong: Criticisms vs substitute BBL premature

MANILA – Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called objections to the substitute Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) premature.

Marcos, chairman of the Senate’s local government committee, said the substitute bill just means there are plenty of amendments that must be made as a result of the hearings conducted by his committee.

He said the substitute bill is necessary so that the BBL won’t be struck down by the Supreme Court for unconstitutionality.

“When we say substitute bill, it just means that there are so many amendments that we need to put onto the draft BBL as it was given us, that it might as well be considered a different bill,” he said.

He said there are detailed changes that need to be introduced. “It is no longer just five amendments to the 100 plus provisions.”

He cited the provisions he plans to amend in the substitute bill. He said these include provisions on wealth-sharing, the Bangsamoro waters, and ownership of natural resources must be changed.

He also raised concerns over the Bangsamoro government’s power to change the function of specific local government units.

“The Bangsamoro government can change the powers and functions of a local government unit… It’s a catch-all phrase, but that essentially is an amendment to a national law. So that puts the Bangsamoro parliament equal to Congress, that’s not possible,” he added.

He said the Bangsamoro government, as part of the national government, must be able to give its share of resources. “And so whatever wealth is found in Bangsamoro government, whatever value is generated in the Bangsamoro government, part of it should go to national government.”

On the issue of the Bangsamoro waters, he said: “We have to talk about how it affects our claim on Sabah. Secondly, how it will affect fishing industries outside of Bangsamoro.”

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