Sen. Bongbong files substitute BBL bill

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, today filed a committee report containing the substitute bill for the Malacañang-backed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

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

Marcos’ bill is a substitute to Senate Bill 2408, which Malacañang submitted to the Senate and referred to his local government committee on September 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.

Marcos is set to sponsor his bill on the Senate floor on Wednesday as he vowed to answer questions to be raised by his colleagues in the subsequent interpellation period.

Marcos 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, which started on September 23, 2014, plus two separate hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes chaired 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.

Aside from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government panel that negotiated peace with the MILF, Marcos also invited as resource persons representatives from different stakeholders like the Moro National Liberation Front, Sultanate of Sulu, indigenous people, religious groups, youth groups, legal luminaries, labor and peasant groups, local government units, and other concerned organizations.

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

Marcos said the number of the hearings and the wide public participation in the process would prove the meticulous scrutiny of the BBL.

“My legislative staff and I really worked on it and we did everything we could in order to ensure that the substitute bill can and will stand constitutional challenges. Also, we put things we deemed necessary so that it will be accepted by the people and will lay the groundwork for peace in Mindanao,” he said.

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