Senator Marcos: MILF’s version of draft BBL is dead
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has no more chance of becoming a law, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said here on Thursday.
Marcos told reporters here that because the BBL crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has a very slim chance of passing in the Senate since senators had already stopped talking about it.
He claimed the proposed law also had no chance of passing in the House of Representatives.
“The BBL has no chance of passing in the Senate,” he added.
Marcos said he was now pushing for the substitute bill, which “is no longer the BBL,” but would also provide autonomy for the Bangsamoro.
He said the substitute bill, the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, had been submitted for interpellation.
He said senators had told him they wanted to study the substitute bill before tackling it at the Senate.
Marcos said he was open to possible amendments that his fellow senators would propose once the substitute Bangsamoro bill was discussed.
He said so far, he was told that the only area where a debate could occur is on the constitutionality of the form of government that would be implemented in the new autonomous region.
“In the findings of Sen. Miriam’s committee, she said they found it (a parliamentary form of government) unconstitutional, but I have spoken to many constitutionalists and lawyers and in their opinion, is constitutional. This would be up for discussion by the senators,” Marcos said.
He said he believes the substitute proposed law was more inclusive compared to the BBL, which is obviously for the MILF only.
Marcos’ version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law had been assailed by the MILF as it allegedly failed to live up to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, a member of the Technical Working Group of the MILF peace panel, said the version of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. merely repeated the mistake of Republic Act 9054, more known as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) law.
Mohaqher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator and chair of the BTC, earlier rejected the Marcos version, saying it practically erased the gains of the 17 years of peace negotiations.
Sinarimbo said the Marcos draft sustained the unacceptable status quo, which the parties expressly agreed was unacceptable, this being the first provision of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
“The status quo is the unitary-highly centralized relation between the Manila government and the Bangsamoro/ARMM and which is sought to be remedied by the power sharing agreement of the parties where the central government will have reserved powers, the Bangsamoro will have exclusive powers and both will share in the concurrent powers,” Sinarimbo told the Inquirer.
He said the Marcos version in Sec 21 Art V, the exclusive powers of the Bangsamoro, is subject to the Constitutional and national laws. “In reality, there is no exclusive powers for the Bangsamoro as it is still subordinated to national laws; no real power sharing,” he said.
Sinarimbo also said the Marcos version took back the powers and prerogative already enjoyed by ARMM and therefore makes it even less than ARMM.
“An illustration of this is the authority to create free ports and economic zones are already granted in the Organic Law of ARMM but the Marcos version made this a reserved power that can only be exercised by the central government,” he said.
He also cited the provision on the Shariah law that under the ARMM has jurisdiction over person and family relations, commercial transactions and criminal cases (limited) while under the Marcos version it will only have jurisdiction over person and family relations which is already contained in the Muslim Personal Law issued under the Marcos dictatorship.
Sinarimbo believed the Marcos version would not contribute to resolving the Bangsamoro question, which actually is the ultimate end of the peace agreement and the resultant BBL.
“The Marcos version has also taken out from the (draft) Bangsamoro territory the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and 39 villages in North Cotabato,” Sinarimbo said.
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