Public support for BBL passage surges in SoCSarGen

General Santos City – February 4, 2018, Local Government Units (LGU), and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Sarangani province demonstrated enormous support for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). 

In a public consultation sponsored by Sarangani Congressman Ruel Pacquiao on Saturday, February 3, 2018 in General Santos City, Sarangani Governor Steve Solon including members of the League of Mayors in the province have shown their full support to the said bill.

According to chief of staff of Congressman Pacquiao, everybody is supportive to the draft bill, that is why we are consulting different sectors in the community to gather opinions, proposals, suggestions and recommendations so that people will have a strong support because they felt that they are part of the process.  

“We in the CSOs attended this consultation to air our voices that we strongly support for the immediate passage of the BBL by the 17th Congress”, said Hadji Duma Mascud, SIGNBBL Chairman

Sultan Datu Tungko Saikol, representative of League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) said that the CSOs are strongly supportive to BTC Version of BBL to achieve genuine peace in Mindanao.

Datu Saikol is also the President of Maguindanao Professionals and Employees Association (MAPEA). 

According to Haris Piang Guiapal, representative of Biwang Radio Research Network, Inc. (BRRN), many CSO leaders both members, and non-member of LBO are also present to show support to the said bill. 

To recall, during the public consultation in Marawi City last month, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Chair of the Senate subcommittee on the BBL, said that he was aiming for the chamber’s approval of the measure that seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao before Congress goes on break by the end of March.

He said “99.9 percent” of senators support the BBL.

“It’s important that the BBL is approved first because Charter change is a long process,” Zubiri said.

He warned that if lawmakers prioritize federalism, as pushed by the ruling PDP-Laban, the BBL’s passage will be sidelined, and trigger extremist violence in the region.

Zubiri agreed with the assessment of security officials, and leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) made before the committee that failure to enact the BBL would likely result in the increase in violence, and influence of the Islamic State in the country.

He and other members of the committee – Senators Risa Hontiveros, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino and Joseph Victor Ejercito – held hearings in Marawi City, and Cotabato City last month.

Meanwhile, the House Committees on Local Government, Muslim Affairs and Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity will be conducting public hearings on the proposed Bill in 11 Mindanao areas weekly starting from February 8 to March 9.

Committee members will be presenting to the public their proposed Bangsamoro law, consolidated from four bills filed in the lower house, including the draft submitted by BTC.

Accordingly, the House sub-committee on the BBL has adopted the title “Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” (BAR) instead of the BTC’s proposed “Bangsamoro.”

Hearings will be held in Cotabato City on February. 8, in Midsayap, North Cotabato on February 9, and in Davao City on February 10.

The following week, the Committee will go to Tubod, Lanao del Norte on Feb. 15, and Marawi/Iligan on February 16.

On the third week, the venue will be in Sulu on February 22, and in Basilan on February 23.

On March 1, the hearing will be in Tawi-tawi; March 2 in Zamboanga City; March 8 in Buluan, Maguindanao and March 9 in Korondal City, South Cotabato.

The Senate Committee on Local Government, which held public hearings in Cotabato City and Marawi City on Jan. 25 and 26, will conduct hearings in Jolo, Sulu morning of February 8, and Bongao, Tawi-tawi in the afternoon. The public hearing and consultation for Zamboanga City, and Zamboanga provinces will be held in the afternoon of February 9.

The Senate Committee has set February 13, and 14 for the Technical Working Group to finalize the Committee report which should be ready for the signature of members and filing of Committee report by February 20.

The Senate has scheduled February 20 to March 19 for plenary debates, and on March 20, “Senate approval on second and third reading (if certified by the President),” the scheduled posted by the BTC said.