Press Release
May 5, 2015

Transcript of Media Briefing during the Turnover of the Citizens' Peace Council Report on the Bangsamoro Basic Law with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, Senator Bongbong Marcos Jr., and Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide

SPFMD: You witnessed the submission by the Peace Council on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. As the latest SWS Survey would indicate, 45% of the people would prefer the peace process to provide stability and peace to Southern Mindanao as against 20% saying the military should provide a solution. Those who want the peace process to succeed constitute nearly half of the population. It is in this context that we are glad that the Peace Council has submitted its report on the Bangsamoro Basic Law this morning.

Their report will be submitted as part of the Senate record in this morning's hearing conducted by our chair on local government, Senator Bongbong Marcos. In my brief meeting with Senator Marcos yesterday, he said that his committee is prepared to have hearings in about two weeks time so that we will have enough time to debate on the report before we adjourn on June 11. This is where we are today and I hope that the report of the Peace Council can clarify many of the doubts that will be raised based on a matter of principle, matters of law, in the course of the hearings conducted by Senator Bongbong Marcos.

Sen. Marcos (BBM): We are, of course, very grateful to the Peace Council and it is of importance to the committee and to the Senate as a whole that a group of individuals with such stature has met on this question. They'll certainly be of great assistance and important guide in our discussion. So, we are grateful for the Peace Council for the work that they have done, especially that they have done it in such short period of time, and that they have come up with this conclusion. I look forward to going into the details of the report although we have seen it, we have read it, but there are certain questions that we would like to ask the Council. With that, I look forward to clarifying the many questions that will be raised this morning.

CJ Davide: We are so happy that we have been given the chance to submit this report to the Senate. Discussions in details will be conducted from now. The committee of Senator Marcos will hear us. The first question would be constitutionality, form and powers of government, and plebiscite. The second question would be on social justice and human development. The third on economy and the fourth would be on human security which would be public security. We would try our very best to really as fast as possible in conducting the peace summit.

The opening statement in the committee later on would be on how we are able to arrive at the final report consisting of fifty pages. I hope that the meat of our report will be heard by you during the Committee Hearing, not at this stage. We can assure you, that we tried our very best to achieve some very constructive recommendations to ensure that the BBL will be able really promote justice, peace, not only in Mindanao, but also in the entire Philippines.

Q: With the submission of the peace council's report, ma-expedite ninyo ba yung approval ng BBL dito sa Senate?

BBM: I am sure that the points that have been made in the report that has just been handed to the Senate, certainly clarifies certain matters. Of course, these have to be taken in the context of other comments and opinions, observations that have been made during the other hearings, but again, because the council has specifically addressed the question of BBL on four subjects that is a logical way to divide up the questions.

So, I think that will certainly clarify at least the methodology by which we can examine all of the findings, all the opinions that have been expressed over the last few months about the BBL so, it is certainly of help to the Committee.

Q: Kaya po ba yung June target?

BBM: The question there is what will happen in the plenary level, because kung kahit matapos kami before June, kung mahaba ang magiging debate, then that will determine exactly when we will finish. It is hard to say, mahirap magsabi. Although I have spoken to the other senators, and of course they have expressed interest in making their own comments and proposing their own amendments, it is impossible to say how long that process will take. We will just go through it, we will go through it in detail. We will not leave any issue unexamined, and I am sure at the end of it we will have a version that will assure all the stakeholders and I suppose that includes the entire Philippines, that we will have a workable version of the BBL.

Q: You have said in previous interviews that an important bill like this should not be rushed. Will the submission of the peace council's report in any way affect your stand on that?

BBM: On the contrary, this is helping to assess the law, making it less and less likely necessary for us to think about the speeding up of the process. I think what is more important, the time table, that is something that we hope to achieve, but I think the primary purpose is that we get it right- that we are able to craft a version that in fact will be successful in at least taking one of the first steps in attaining peace in Muslim Mindanao.

Q: Mag-aappeal ba kayo sa inyong mga colleagues na bilisan ang approval ng BBL?

SPFMD: Once we receive the report of the Committee we will exert every effort to have this debated and voted upon as soon as possible. We will allow every senator to express their views on this very critical piece of legislation and we will debate n this as soon as possible.

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