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No way Senate will meet BBL deadline–Alan Cayetano

/ 09:07 AM May 17, 2015
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Sen. Alan Peter Cayateno said it was “impractical” for the Senate to meet Malacañang’s proposed June 11 deadline to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) because of the “massive amendments” needed.

“It will take us some time to pass this. If the House made a line by line review, we might also be doing the same,” he said on the sidelines of the BBL hearing here last Thursday.

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Cayetano said the Senate should not be forced by deadlines to pass the BBL.

“It took the peace panels four years (to come up with a draft) so why should they expect that we will finish it within six to seven months?” he said.

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Earlier, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, chair of the local government committee, said it would be “tough” to beat the deadline.

“We will have great difficulty finishing it before the end of the session.

It’s a lot more complicated since all points, all views (have to be studied carefully), and there is no way around to sift through all the details. I always feel uncomfortable that there are deadlines. This is a process that is not something to hurry,” Marcos said.

He said the Senate had until the end of May to conduct sessions, “which gives us nine session days left.”

“So with that nine session days, even if I report tomorrow and sponsor it on Monday, the process of debate on the floor, interpolation and process of amendments will take time because this is something that is very complex and it will require a great deal of discussion and debate and most, if not all the senators, will have amendments to propose,” Marcos said.

At the public hearing, the Moro National Liberation Front led by Abul Khayr Alonto said that passing the BBL was “the best chance to achieve peace in Mindanao and build genuine autonomy that the Bangsamoro people had struggled for for decades.”

“The BBL is our effective law to better implement the autonomy that the Bangsamoro had dreamed about,” he said in a statement released by the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process.

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Alonto said the lawmakers and the public should “open their hearts and minds and understand the importance of the BBL as the key to peace and development in Mindanao and the country in general.”

“Our lawmakers have the historic role to pass this draft BBL, which is inclusive of all the concerns of stakeholders in the Bangsamoro and can end the armed conflict in the south,” he added.

Alonto said there was no alternative to the BBL and not passing it will cause many people to lose faith in the peace process.

Malacañang had said it remained hopeful the BBL would be passed before Congress adjourns. President Aquino said that a “watered-down” version would be unacceptable “because it would be tantamount to reducing the benefits accruing to the Bangsamoro people.”

“If we will cut more from what the Bangsamoro are supposed to get, then they will have a problem catching up with the rest of the country. Instead of giving them less, we should give more benefits to Bangsamoro,” he had told a national radio network.

Business groups in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were also apprehensive about a diluted BBL, saying it could undermine the investment climate in the region, according to Ishak Mastura, chair of the ARMM Regional Board of Investments. Julie Alipala, Nash Maulana and Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao

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