Sen. Bongbong to tackle peace council report as Senate resumes BBL hearings

Bongbong Marcos Peace Council CJ davide, Ambassador Howard Dee Bai Rohaniza Usman Meeting

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said his panel will tackle the report of the so-called “Citizen’s Peace Council” at the resumption of their hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) today, May 5.

“We want to look closer into the findings and recommendations of the peace council, particular those that would help in our task of crafting a version of the BBL that would ensure peace in Muslim Mindanao,” Marcos said.

Prior to the hearing the peace council will formally submit its report to Marcos and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Malacanang convened the peace council to review the BBL amid strong public backlash and erosion of political support for the proposed law triggered by the tragic clash in Mamasapano where 44 policemen were killed.

Separate investigations on the Mamasapano incident and the security concerns over military operations against Moro rebel groups prompted Marcos to suspend BBL hearings in Jolo and Zamboanga.

But to cover lost ground he conducted a hearing last April 13, while the Senate is still in recess, meant to establish better ceasefire mechanisms to prevent a repeat of the Mamasapano tragedy.

“We will consider the peace council report in the context of data we have gathered in our previous hearings, as well as the input from the hearing of the Senate on the constitutional issues regarding the BBL,” Marcos said.

In its report the peace council said the BBL is “overwhelmingly acceptable and deserves the support of Filipinos” save for some provisions where they recommended changes.

However, legal experts who testified in the earlier Senate hearing opined that there are several constitutional flaws in BBL.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice, and other original convenors of the peace council such as former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See and Malta Howard Dee, and founder of Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman have confirmed their attendance in the hearing.

On the other hand Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will be represented by Fr. Joel Tabora, President of Ateneo De Davao University, while Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala II will be represented by former NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, Jr.

The BBL aims to implement the peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through the creation of a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao vested with expanded political and fiscal powers.

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