“I want to start with BBL before Charter Change for Federalism:” Sen. Zubiri

Senator Migz Zubiri, Chair of the Senate Committee on BBL said on Thursday, January 18, 2018 that, “The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would be a “good model” to see if federalism works.

In a report by PNA on January 19, Zubiri said that “The sentiment in the House of Representatives is to start with federalism before BBL.” 

In a Kapehan Press Conference, Zubiri said, “Me. I want to start with BBL before charter change for federalism because the stakes are high. This will dictate whether we will have war or peace in Mindanao.”

He described the BBL as “the final promise that government has to fulfill to be able to comply with the 1972 Tripoli Peace Agreement”.

Although he is in favor of charter change, he emphasized that “the future of the republic” would depend on the BBL.

“We want peace in Mindanao, and I think this is the best way to achieve it. This is a long-term political solution that we feel will provide long-lasting peace for our people,” Zubiri said as quoted by PNA.

He earlier said that he expects to have the BBL passed in the Senate on third and final reading before it adjourns its session in March.

In the same article by PNA, Zubiri said, “If we pass this in the Senate this March, and hopefully my colleagues in the House will also be able to pass a same version. I think during the break in April, we can have bicameral hearings there and ratify when we come back in May so the President (Rodrigo Duterte) can mention in his SONA (State of the Nation Address) that there is a BBL.”

He explained that the BBL would address the lack of representation in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which comprises the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

“In our new version of the BBL, which will amend the ARMM law, we’re giving more representation as well as to the IP (indigenous peoples),” Zubiri said.

Since it would also have a parliamentary set up, the public can choose to take a “hold no-confidence vote” to remove their governor as opposed to having to wait every three years for a reelection.

He expressed belief that the BBL would also allow their people to stop relying on the central government.