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Bicam OKs Senate version on Bangsamoro-DOE power sharing on energy dev’t

/ 08:49 PM July 12, 2018
oil drilling rig

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Under the approved provision of the bicameral panel deliberating on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the Bangsamoro government and the national government have joint powers over the exploration, development, and use of fossil fuels and uranium in the Bangsamoro territory.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, a co-chair of the panel, said the Senate version of this provision prevailed.

“What we agreed upon is the Senate version wherein the Bangsamoro government and the Department of Energy (DOE) jointly explore and utilize these resources,” Zubiri told reporters after emerging from a two-hour deliberation on BBL at the House of Representatives.

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“It’s part of natural patrimony but we have to give chance to the Bangsamoro to use and explore these resources,” he added.

The approved provision was consistent with the proposal of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which was earlier tasked to draft a BBL version that is in line with all agreements entered and that may be entered into by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Under Article XIII, Section 10 of Senate Bill 1717, the national government, with the DOE, and the Bangsamoro government “shall adopt a competitive and transparent process for the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions in the exploration, development and utilization of fossil fuels and uranium.”

Joint body for the zones of joint cooperation

But Zubiri said the panel is yet to reach a consensus on who would chair the joint body for the zones of joint cooperation in the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf.

Section 17 of Article XIII states that zones of joint cooperation in the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf will be created, the coordinates of which will be defined by an ad hoc joint body.

Under the BTC and the Senate versions, this joint body will be headed by the Bangsamoro minister. But under House Bill 6475, the secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bangsamoro minister will become co-chairs.

Zubiri said one of the panel members, Zamboanga City 1st District Rep. Celso Lobregat, wanted the Bangsamoro minister to just be a vice chair, while the DA secretary would lead the body.

This was opposed by some Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) representatives, particularly Tawi-Tawi Rep. Ruby Sahali and Maguindanao 1st District Rep. Bai Sandra Sema.

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“Their issue is social justice. Concern nila, wala na sila makain dun at least bigyan man lang sila ng equal footing to make the decision jointly… Fear siguro nila pag vice chair lang ang Bangsamoro minister, hindi sila papansinin,” Zubiri explained.

The senator said they would try to agree on the entire draft by Thursday night. Clean copies of the harmonized bills will then be prepared in the coming days, which hopefully would be up for final review and ratification by Wednesday, July 18, Zubiri added. with reports from Syrah Vivien Inocencio, Intern, INQUIRER.net

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Basic Law, Department of Energy, Philippine news updates, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri
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