Sen. Bongbong urges local government execs to get involved in BBL discussions

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government has urged local government officials to get involved in the discussion on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, saying it affects not only Mindanao but the entire country as well.

“I encourage everyone, to get involved. Come and talk to us, and be part of the discussion. This affects you too,” said Sen. Bongbong in his speech at the 62nd national assembly of the League of Vice-Governors of the Philippines in Tuguegarao City on Thursday night.

The Senator revealed that other LGUs in the country will have to contribute funds to the Bangsamoro government.

Under the BBL, the Bangsamoro government’s budget will come from three sources: the annual budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao of about P24.6 billion in current levels, the Internal Revenue Allotment share that LGUs under the Bangsamoro government will still receive, and a block grant, estimated to be between P35-P36 billion annually.

“The question is, where would that fund come from? Ultimately, it would come from you,” Sen. Bongbong said.

He said he acknowledges the argument that the Bangsamoro government would need additional funding support because Muslim Mindanao is still lagging behind other areas of the country in terms of development. However, he pointed out that the BBL should provide safeguards to ensure the funds would be used properly. Such safeguards are lacking in the draft BBL, according to Marcos.

Sen. Bongbong also cited that other issues that his panel needs to address are the constitutional issues raised against the BBL, as well as issues on administrative matters, wealth-sharing, power-sharing, and economic provisions.

As a lawmaker, the senator said it is his duty to ensure every law the Senate would pass is constitutional, legal, and is practical enough to actually work towards achieving its goal.

In accepting the challenges his committee faces in preparing a substitute bill, Sen. Bongbong said the BBL presents “an extraordinary opportunity for us to take some of the first steps to peace in Muslim Mindanao”.

Likewise, he reiterated that the BBL won’t succeed unless it earns the support of the Filipino people. Sen. Bongbong said this is the reason he takes advantage of opportunities to explain his position on the BBL and report what his committee is doing on the proposed law.

“It’s important that everyone around the country, especially our local government executives, understand what is at stake, how important it is, and how important it is that we get it right,” the Senator said.

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