Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, will conduct a two-day marathon hearing in Jolo, Zulu and Zamboanga on May 13 and 14 on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“I made a promise to the people of Jolo and Zamboanga that they will have a chance to air their views on the BBL and so we set these hearings to fulfil that promise,” Marcos said.
The Jolo and Zamboanga hearing will be held in the same week the special committee of the House of Representatives gears up to vote on the final version of BBL it would present to the plenary.
Malacanang has signified its desire for the passage of the BBL before Congress adjourns on June 10.
However, BBL hearings suffered a setback in both Houses of Congress following the tragic January 25, 2015 Mamasapano clash that resulted to the death of 44 commandos of the police’s Special Action Force.
“When we get back to Manila, we will have another hearing to get the side of the Moro National Liberation Front. I think it is proper to hear the MNLF side because they have signed a peace agreement with the government, the 1996 Jakarta Agreement,” Marcos noted.
“So after that, before the end of the month, we would likely complete our hearing and the committee would probably be ready by then to write the version that we will present to the rest of the senators,” he added.
This early Marcos said the Senate is not likely to heed Malacanang’s appeal for the passage of the BBL without any amendments.
He said that even the peace council which Malacanang constituted to review BBL pointed the need for some changes in the draft BBL.
“We will amend on the power sharing, we will amend on the administrative issues, we will amend on the economic issues, we will certainly amend on the constitutional issues,” Marcos said.
Likewise, Marcos said he cannot commit to any deadline for the passage of the BBL in the Senate.
Marcos said many of his fellow senators have earlier signified their intention to propose their own amendments to the draft BBL, which would likely result to lengthy floor debates.
“If we manage to pass it by June 10, then well and good. But what is more important is that we pass a version of the BBL that we believe will really work to achieve its avowed goal, and that is to bring peace and prosperity to Muslim Mindanao,” Marcos stressed.