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‘2 trending lies’ on BBL debunked by PH peace panel chief

MANILA, Philippines–The government chief peace negotiator, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, on Thursday clarified two misconceptions in the provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that she called the “top two trending lies.”

Those lies, she said, were that the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region would have its own police force and army, and that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would receive a P75-billion fund under the BBL.

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Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Ferrer said that under Article XI Section 2 of the draft BBL, a Bangsamoro police force would be established for “law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order in the Bangsamoro.

It is clear in the provision that the Bangsamoro police “will be part of the Philippine National Police,” she said.

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Special development fund

Article XIV Section 2 of the proposed BBL states that the central government would provide for a special development fund to the Bangsamoro “for rehabilitation and development purposes upon ratification” of the draft law, Ferrer said.

The special development fund amounts to P7 billion for the first year following ratification of the BBL, she said.

In the second year, she said, the fund will amount to P10 billion, “to be paid out to the Bangsamoro government over five years at the rate of P2 billion per year.”

Under the draft law, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), will also receive P1 billion “to carry out the requirements of transition” from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Bangsamoro autonomous region.

The central government will also provide an annual block grant to the Bangsamoro, its share in the national internal revenue of the government.

Emphasis on the bad

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“What is going on now, what are being emphasized, are the supposed bad things of the BBL without the bigger picture of what’s good about it. This is my lament to the mass media, they only discuss the demerits without emphasizing the merits,” Ferrer said. “The discussions are inaccurate or total falsehood, but the text of the BBL is clear.”

In a separate interview, Senen Bacani, a member of the government peace panel, said the local governments under the Bangsamoro autonomous region would continue to receive their internal revenue allotments (IRA).

“The IRA would not go to the Bangsamoro political entity,” Bacani said.

The salaries of teachers, social and health workers would come from the Bangsamoro government, he said.

Bacani said the misinformation hurt the BBL discussions.

“There’s really no basis for all this wrong information,” he said.

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TAGS: Army, Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL, MILF, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, P75-billion fund, police force, Senen Bacani
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