Friday, May 22, 2015

Ferrer lauds Congress for retaining substantive elements of BBL


Ferrer lauds Congress for retaining substantive elements of BBL

MANILA – Government of the Philippines (GPH) chief peace negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer conveyed her appreciation to the members of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) for exerting due diligence as they deliberated and voted on every section of the proposed measure, noting that substantive elements of the proposed law were retained in response to the call of the Bangsamoro people for genuine autonomy.
“We have been monitoring the proceedings in Congress since Monday and we definitely appreciate that our honorable representatives have exerted all efforts and and responded to the call of the people to draft a BBL consistent with the CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro) and in accordance to the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” she said as the ad hoc committee on the BBL approved the proposed law at the committee level today, May 20.
The line by line voting on the specific provisions on the proposed BBL started Monday afternoon, May 18. The lawmakers resumed their session early morning Tuesday and adjourned once more around 11 p.m. The Ad Hoc Committee continued its proceedings today for referral of the bill to the House committee on appropriations and the committee on ways and means before submission to plenary.
Substantive parts of BBL  
According to Ferrer, the three most substantive elements of the BBL were carried in the amended draft of the ad hoc committee. “The important elements are still there, notably: the structure of government; automatic block grant; and the layered voting process where the majority vote in the six Lanao del Norte municipalities and 39 North Cotabato barangays shall be determined at the level of the local government unit.”
The chief peace negotiator added that most articles, especially on fiscal and economic matters were also preserved. “We are thankful that substantive parts and the spirit of the BBL to address the Bangsamoro aspiration for  political and fiscal autonomy were heeded by our lawmakers in their voting on the provisions of the Bangsamoro law.”
During the two-day proceedings, the ad hoc committee has entrenched certain substantial changes to the bill such as the provision for the Chief Minister to have two deputies, one from the island provinces and another from central Mindanao; as well as the unequivocal recognition of the validity of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) in the Bangsamoro. The latter has allayed the anxiety of the Lumad communities who have been clamoring for the same.
“The welfare of the indigenous peoples has been enhanced. The same is true with the protection of women’s rights and welfare. While there were cutbacks on the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro government over natural resources, the wealth-sharing from the exploration, development, and utilization of these resources were not changed,” continued Ferrer.
One step closer to BBL passage
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles hailed the passage of the BBL at the committee level, saying that  “this is a good day in our quest for just and lasting peace as the draft BBL is one step closer to passage, having been approved on the committee level.”
“Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa liderato ng Kamara de Representante at sa pamunuan at mga miyembro ng Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL sa kanilang pagsagot sa panawagan ng Bangsamoro para sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran (We would like to express our thanks to the leadership of the House of Representatives and to the chair and members of the Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL for answering the call of the Bangsamoro for peace and prosperity), she said.”
“We are aware that there will still be challenges along the way but we are confident that our lawmakers will heed the call of the people for meaningful autonomy and end to conflict,” Deles added.

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