QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/01 June) — After eight months of consultations, 51 public hearings, executive sessions and meetings, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (AHCBBL) submitted its substitute version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to the plenary of the House of Representatives on Monday afternoon.
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro), chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law said the substitute bill “will provide the groundwork which the foundations for peace and development in Mindanao shall be laid.”
“These are the first, small steps towards achieving lasting peace in Mindanao,” Rodriguez said.
He said the substitute bill, House Bill 5811, which the ad hoc committee passed last week, has major amendments that will not create a Bangsamoro nation but a new region under “one flag, one country.”
Rodriguez said House Bill no. 5811 will seek the repeal of Republic Acts No. 9054 and. 6734, the laws governing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
He said the substitute measure no longer has the “unconstitutional provisions like the “Wali, “ the titular head of the Bangsamoro region and reverted the offices of the Ombudsman, Civil Service and Audit to regional extensions of the national government agencies.
Rodriguez also said House Bill No. 5811 also reverted ownership of “strategic resources” like oil, uranium, petroleum and other sources of energy back to the national government.
Chiding the voices that opposed the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Rodriguez said these people should read carefully the substitute bill, which is now named as “ the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”
“This 91-page document is not a miraculous pill that would somehow end all hostilities in Mindanao and usher in a golden era of peace in the region,” Rodriguez said.
“Centuries of violence, injustice, discrimination and misunderstanding among our brothers and sisters in Mindanao will not be magically swept away once we pass this bill,” he continued.
But House Bill No. 5811, Rodriguez said will offer “the chance to achieve peace by addressing all these issues and thrusting their into the public consciousness.”
Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza questioned the lack of quorum at the start of the House of Representatives plenary last Monday.
Eventually, a total of 193 congressmen answered the roll call paving the way for the induction of the substitute bill to the House plenary.
The session was suspended at 7:22 p.m. It will resume at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Aside from Rodriguez, seven other Representatives, among them Lanao del Sur’s Pangalian Balindong, the Deputy Speaker for Mindanao, also delivered sponsorship speeches.
Rodriguez said he is confident they can defend the bill from questions that would be fielded by their colleagues when the House goes on to deliberations on Tuesday. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)