Press Release
February 7, 2018


Some members of the Senate are taking the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on a roadshow again this week as part of the upper chamber's "listening tour" to strengthen and improve the proposed bill for Muslim Mindanao self-rule.

The lawmakers, led by Sen. Sonny Angara who chairs the Committee on Local Government, and Sen. Migz Zubiri, who heads the Sub-committee on the BBL, will visit the provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Sulu tomorrow as part of the Senate panel's consultation with stakeholders to gather their inputs in crafting the final version of the BBL.

Zubiri's sub-committee, to which the Palace-endorsed BBL draft was referred to, will also take the local government panel hearings to Zamboanga and Basilan on Friday. Two weeks ago, they visited Cotabato City and Marawi City to hear the sentiments of the people on the ground.

Angara said there are many "shades of grey" in the current form and shape of the BBL draft that needed to be ironed out in order to clear and remove some ambiguities.

"Ang gusto natin ay isang black and white document that is airtight para pumasa sa Kongreso, ma-ratify ng tao sa isang plebesito, at ang implementasyon ay hindi maantala ng mga probisyon na hindi klaro, " he said.

Because of the proposal's contentious subject, "we are making doubly sure that our final output is veto-proof, TRO-proof and one that will not be turned down by the people," Angara said. ??

"And we can only do that if we will conduct exhaustive consultations. A shortcut is a no-no. This bill has been aborted once. If it is scuttled again, there might be no third time," Angara pointed out.

Among the elements of the BBL that need fine-tuning, Angara said, are the provisions on revenue sharing, financial block grants from the national government, the status of the police and other security forces, as well as some aspects of the asymmetrical political relationship.?

"The BBL is no ordinary bill. It is not the type that normally passes through the legislative mill. It contains radical provisions," Angara said. "The challenge is how to make these provisions, which are essential to peace, constitutionally-compliant."

According to Angara, he is upbeat on the chances of the BBL's passage in the Senate, noting that the upper chamber is on track on approving the bill before the end of March.

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