House committee assures broad consultations on Bangsamoro Basic Law

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 October) — Leaders of the House ad hoc committee studying the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law or House Bill 4994 assured on Monday that all key areas and sectors in Mindanao and other parts of the country will be consulted properly before they eventually work on its passage.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the ad hoc committee, said they have scheduled eight more cluster consultations on the BBL in the coming weeks in major urban centers in Mindanao and well as parts of Luzon and the Visayas.

The committee concluded last Friday its first cluster public consultations that covered Upi town in Maguindanao and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Cotabato in Region 12.

“Our next stop two weeks from now would be Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga City,” he said in a radio interview.

Rodriguez, who spearheaded the public consultations in Maguindanao and in parts of Region 12, said the third cluster will cover the cities of Iligan, Marawi, Cagayan de Oro and Tubod town in Lanao del Norte.

The fourth cluster will cover Davao City and Midsayap and Kabacan towns in North Cotabato while the fifth will cover Butuan City and other areas in the Caraga Region, he said.

He said they will then proceed to the Visayas for stops in the cities of Cebu, Tacloban and Iloilo, which are the regional centers of Central, Eastern and Western Visayas, respectively.

Rodriguez said BBL consultations will later be held in the Ilocos and Cagayan provinces for the Region 1 cluster, Isabela for Region 2 and then in Naga City for the Bicol Region.

“We made sure that all key areas in Mindanao and other parts of the country would be covered by the consultations as the proposed law will not only affect the core territories of the proposed Bangsamoro region but the entire country,” he said.

He was referring to the new Bangsamoro autonomous political entity that would be established in Mindanao to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao once the BBL is enacted.

“Even though most of the areas covered by the consultations were outside the Bangsamoro, we decided to include them to get inputs from the stakeholders and properly inform them also about the BBL,” he said.

Rodriquez pointed out that the BBL will not only be beneficial to areas or territories that it would cover but adjacent areas as well.

He specifically cited key and emerging urban areas in Mindanao like the cities of Koronadal, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro.

“When we eventually see lasting peace in Mindanao, investments will come to the area, not only to the Bangsamoro region, but also to other Christian-dominated settlements,” he added. (MindaNews)