PASAY CITY (MindaNews / 3 June) – Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has rejected the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in its present version as Mindanao governors continued with their opposition to the bill during the public hearing at the Senate Wednesday.
Marcos, chair of the Senate committee on local government, said he could not support the draft BBL with its “flaws that will lead to more bloodshed instead of achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.”
The draft BBL was submitted to Congress on September 10 last year. In the House of Representatives, the Ad Hoc Committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law also rejected the draft BBL and submitted to the plenary last Monday its substitute bill, HB 5811 or the Basic Law of hte Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. Interpellations began Tuesday and continued Wednesday.
“I share our people’s thirst for peace. Pero napakarami pong mga masamang probisyon na napapaloob sa BBL at kung tatanggalin ko pong isa-isa baka maski kahit anong retoke ang gawin, hindi makayang maibalik sa dating anyo ang BBL,” Marcos said in a privilege speech.
Marcos said he will be presenting a new version that will answer the “concerns of all the stakeholders” in Mindanao. He did not say when he will present his version of the BBL.
The next public hearing is set on June 9 at the Philippine Senate.
Marcos said he will not follow the June 11 deadline set by Malacañang, adding that he will resist any effort to railroad the approval of the draft BBL.
“The Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) totally ignored the major stakeholders. The Sultanate of Sulu, The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the lumads, the indigenous people, the Christians, the local government units and business were abandoned at will,” Marcos said
The draft BBL continue to have a rough sailing at the Senate after majority of Mindanao governors expressed their opposition at the public hearing on Wednesday.
Led by Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II, the Mindanao governors said they would rather see an enhanced version of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) than a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
“I do not want to be called a Moro. I want to be called a Muslim Filipino,” Tan told the Senate public hearing chaired by Marcos.
Only Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao expressed approval to the draft bill out of the nine provincial governors present at the hearing.
Citing a report from Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Marcos said BBL runs afoul with the Philippine Constitution.
Marcos cited the unconstitutional provisions, among them the parliamentary form of government within the presidential form of government.
He said the provision making the Bangsamoro parliament equal, not subordinate to the Philippine Congress, is also unconstitutional.
Marcos said the exclusive powers given to the Bangsamoro government diminish the powers of the national government and noted that the BBL does not have any authority to establish a “Bangsamoro territory.”