Marcos says his BBL version is more inclusive
The Senate committee’s substitute Bangsamoro bill would be characterized by inclusiveness, according to Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, who is set to file his report on Monday so that the bill could later on be discussed in the plenary.
Marcos, who drafted the substitute bill as chair of the local government committee, said about 80 percent of the 115 provisions in Malacañang’s draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would have some kind of amendment, though not all would be substantial. Some changes only have to do with punctuation.
The more substantial amendments have to do with ensuring that the bill would encompass not only the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but also other stakeholders in Mindanao, said Marcos.
The MILF is the signatory to the peace deal with the government that would be given flesh through the draft BBL.
“The major change that we did is the inclusiveness. Whereas a draft BBL talks solely about the MILF, we learned our lesson from our hearings and tried to involve the sultanates, tried to involve the other tribes, tried to involve the LGUs, tried to involve the business communities,” Marcos said at the Kapihan sa Senado forum.
As example, he said the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in the original draft was “all MILF,” which means that the group would be favored when it comes to the elections.
Other stakeholders included
But his substitute bill tries to make the BTA membership more inclusive to include other stakeholders identified during the committee hearings.
“So they (the MILF) would take the lead. However, it’s more open in the sense that we’ve made it easier for other sectors, other groups to have representatives in the BTA,” he said.
In the envisioned parliament, his substitute bill would also give seats to certain sectors such as the indigenous people, the women, the youth and the sultanates. The council of elders would be more inclusive as well, he added.
“We’re just giving everybody a role to play, those groups that in my judgment are necessary to the peace process. If we’re to exclude them, the chances for success would be lessened and to include them, the chances for success would be improved,” he said.
Marcos also said that to improve the chances that the Bangsamoro bill would be approved, he would get input from his colleagues in the Senate during their interpellations on the measure.
The original draft would not have hurdled either House of Congress, he said.
But he could not guarantee a date of the bill’s passage in the Senate, as this was a matter out of his hands. The Senate did not set a deadline for the conclusion of interpellations, though the draft BBL is one of its priority measures.
He also said he saw no problem if the Bangsamoro bill would not be passed during the current Congress. It could be taken up in the next Congress, he said.
“I don’t see why there has to be a contingency plan. It doesn’t become an emergency because we don’t finish it. The world does not end on May 9,” he said.
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