SunStar - Marcos to study further BBL draft

In The News
23 September 2014

By Ruth Abbey Gita | Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Tuesday that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be studied further after some questions were raised in the Senate hearing regarding the proposal.

"Most questions that we raised today, the questions brought other questions. But these are normal for this kind of process," said Marcos who chairs the Senate committee on local government.

Marcos said some conditions in the proposed law -- police force, on its powers and chair of command, specific issues on the nature of the devolution of healthcare -- are still vague and needs to be scrutinized thoroughly for the clarification of the issues.

"Those power sharing agreements are not entirely clear especially in different sectors in terms of the parliament, in terms of the police, in terms of security management, in terms of administration. All of these things, we have to clarify it," Marcos said.

Marcos said they will allot some more time to clarify the issues.

"Since other senators also wanted more time to study the Bangsamoro Basic Law draft, perhaps, we will be giving them another opportunity to ask those questions and for the both panel to be able to answer," Marcos said.

Marcos said the Senate has to weigh the questions that they will bring up on the next hearing and if they still have questions to ask, the committee will have to spend more time for the draft.

In his introductory speech on Tuesday, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chairman Mohaguer Iqbal noted the importance of the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

"This (the proposed law) is important because the establishment of Bangsamoro will end the long- standing conflict that has been the scourge of our people," Iqbal said.

Iqbal said the strife between the Bangsamoro and the National Government had caused contravention to the people and it is about time to weigh peace in the country.

"The conflict has caused untold pain and misery. It has brought poverty and insecurity to our people. It has cost thousands of lives. Let us end this situation. Let peace be our lasting legacy. Every person has a right to live a happy and meaningful life. Let us grant this right to our people in the Bangsamoro," he said.

Aside from liberty that the BTC is aiming, Iqbal said the proposed measure would also build the country as they unite as one.

"The Bangsamoro will not only liberate the Bangsamoro people from insecurity and poverty. The Bangsamoro will also build the country. It will make the Philippines whole. The Bangsamoro will grant us an opportunity to participate as real active citizens of this country," he said.

Moreover, Iqbal said the drafted law would be the cure for the mounting political orientation in the country.

"The Bangsamoro will also strengthen the stability of this country and will be our best antidote against rising radicalism. It will show that there is space for the Bangsamoro in the Philippines," he said.

Other than that, Iqbal said the BBL would contribute to the progress of the country regarding the economic aspect.

"The Bangsamoro will also spur this country's development as it will become an economic hub in an area adjacent to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei," Iqbal said.

"With peace that Bangsamoro will bring, there will be more investments, more jobs, more education, and more opportunities not just for the Bangsamoro but for the whole country as well," he added.

With the proposed law, Iqbal assured that the agreement between the Philippine government and the BTC will strengthen the political status of the country:

"The Bangsamoro will also strengthen our geopolitical status in Asia. Whereas before our country was divided, now we are one," he said.

"Instead of dividing the country, the Bangsamoro will unite the country," said Iqbal, noting that the proposed law will be the best insurance of the country against independence.

In summary, as based on the BTC's presentation, the proposed law "will end the long-standing suffering of the Bangsamoro people, will foster unity and harmony, will bring in economic development, and will shield against rising radicalism" once enacted as a law.