Saturday, September 20, 2014

Deles, Ferrer laud lawmakers’ support for Bangsamoro bill


Deles, Ferrer laud lawmakers’ support for Bangsamoro bill

MANILA – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles and Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on Wednesday thanked both houses of Congress for its show of strong bipartisan support for the Bangsamoro bill and commitment for its timely passage into law.
The Bangsamoro bill, the proposed organic act for the Bangsamoro political entity, was filed in the Senate on Monday as Senate Bill (SB) 2408 with more than half of the senators, including the four members of the minority group signing as co-authors.
Deles described the bipartisan support of majority and minority blocs in the Senate as a “strong gesture for peace by representatives of the Filipino people.”
“We thank the Senate’s swift filing of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and more importantly, its manifestation of bipartisan support,” said Deles. “Definitely, our lawmakers have the monumental role to pass a law that serves the aspiration of the Filipino people for peace in southern Philippines.”
Coronel-Ferrer also welcomed the support from the majority and minority blocs in the Senate “to work together and transcend partisan politics to ensure the timely passage of the BBL.”
“We are thankful for these positive gestures by our esteemed lawmakers in pushing forward the Bangsamoro bill which is the legal translation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a product of 17 years of peace negotiations,” Coronel-Ferrer said.
The government chief negotiator likewise noted that they “would welcome all the clarifications they (lawmakers) may seek on the background, objectives and other aspects of the draft provisions in order to achieve common understanding and unity of purpose.”
SB 2408 is expected to be referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government headed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation headed by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III.
The co-authors of SB 2408 include Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senate President pro tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Allan Peter Cayetano, Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sen. Francis Escudero, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, Sen. Loren Legarda, and Senator Vicente Sotto III. Four of the thirteen co-authors—Ejercito, Sotto, Binay, and Honasan—are members of the minority bloc.
“It only shows that the desire for peace knows no political color,” Drilon said. “With more people working on the BBL, we can better scrutinize every detail of the bill and ensure that every single word in the proposed measure will be reviewed, examined and debated upon.”
Drilon has already noted previously that the bill is expected to be passed by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
The Bangsamoro bill in Congress
In the House of Representatives, a 75-member ad hoc committee for the BBL, headed by Cagayan de Oro (2nd district) Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, has already been formed.
The committee is mandated to deliberate on the Bangsamoro bill and pursue dialogues and consultations with sectors and constituencies that will be affected by the proposed measure. It held its first organizational meeting on Tuesday.
“We truly appreciate the commitment of our legislators in the House of Representatives to bring the peace and development in the Bangsamoro that our people have been longing for,” Deles said as legislators commit to fast track the passage of the priority measure.
Deles noted that Rodriguez said in an interview that the ad hoc committee agreed to work on the study of the bill “even during recess.”
The Bangsamoro bill includes sections on power-sharing and wealth-sharing arrangements between the national government and the future Bangsamoro government.
The CAB and the Bangsamoro bill envision establishing a Bangsamoro region by 2016 that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as a political solution to the decades-old efforts to resolve the Bangsamoro aspiration for genuine autonomy. The CAB was signed between the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014.

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