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The Manila Times - Marcos files substitute Bangsamoro law

News & Interviews
10 August 2015

By Jefferson Antiporda | The Manila Times

The-Manila-Times-NetSen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday submitted to the Senate the committee report containing his proposed substitute version to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that he described as an “all-inclusive measure” addressing the concerns not only of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but also of other stakeholders in Mindanao.

The 100–page Senate Bill 2894, under Committee Report 200, is called the “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.” The draft law contains 17 articles and 215 sections.

“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, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said in a statement.

The committee report was signed by 17 committee members. Majority Floorleader Alan Peter Cayetano, however, dissented, citing several provisions which according to him needs to be revised.

Marcos’ bill is a substitute to Senate Bill 2408, which Malacañang submitted to the Senate and referred to the local government committee on September 15, 2014.

Marcos admitted that while majority members of the committee already signed the report there are some who intends to propose additional amendments, which will be tackled in the plenary.

“There are some senators who don’t want to sign the report because they want to additional introduce [Franklin Drilon] asked them to sign the report and have their respective concerns discussed on the floor,” he said.

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

The senator, however, assured that even if the committee revised 80 percent of the Malacañang version of the BBL, the original intent of the law has been preserved.

Marcos described the bill as an all-inclusive measure since it carried the applicable advocacies, positions, and proposals of all the stakeholders.

Aside from the MILF and the government negotiating panel, Marcos also listened to the inputs and positions of 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.

All in all, Marcos’ committee held 12 public hearings and one briefing before coming up with a committee report that hopes to address all the concerns of the people that will be affected by the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“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.