INQUIRER.net – Senate consults women, businesses, agencies on BBL

By: Maila Ager | INQUIRER.net

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A Senate committee resumed on Tuesday hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to consult sectors like women, youth and business that could be adversely affected by the legislation.

Among the issues to be scrutinized would be safeguards to the welfare of over 36,000 public servants in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chair of the committee on local government.

Marcos said his committee, together with the committees on peace, unification and reconciliation, and on constitutional amendments, would try to address the concerns of all major stakeholders before writing a committee report on the BBL.

He noted that during a hearing in Cotabato City in October last year, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said that a transition team had been set up to craft a plan for ARMM employees who would either be displaced or choose to retire with the BBL’s passage.

“I’d like to know if indeed such a plan has been completed … and what specific measures were put up to ensure the welfare of ARMM public,” the senator said in a statement Monday.

Consequently, invited to the hearing were the Civil Service Commission, the Departments of Interior and Local Government, Education, Labor and Employment, Finance, Trade and Industry, and Health.

To discuss the ramifications of the BBL on banking, business, and finance, the committee also asked the attendance of the National Economic Development Authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Bureau of Customs.

Marcos earlier said he had yet to see any serious study on how the powers of the proposed Bangsamoro government would impact on the finance, banking, taxation and the natural resources in Mindanao.

To represent the business sector, Marcos has invited the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Philippine Industries, Incorporated.

Also invited were representatives from the women’s sector, including the Philippine Commission on Women, the Women and Gender Institute, and the Women Engaged in Action on 1325. The youth sector will be represented by the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development.

Marcos said he was conducting the hearing as part of his promise to consult all major stakeholders who were not given a chance to voice their concern on the proposed BBL.

The committee will again hold a hearing on June 3 to get the inputs of local executives in core areas of the proposed Bangsamoro territory and adjacent local government units, who were likewise not properly consulted in the drafting of the BBL.

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