MANILA — Members of the House of Representatives minority bloc said on Wednesday their group would carefully study the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that Malacañang has just submitted to Congress to ensure that the concerns of all stakeholders in Mindanao are properly addressed.
Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate said that the BBL should address the concerns of all groups – Moros, majority Christians and settlers – to be affected by the law so that it would truly be all-encompassing.
He noted that favoring one group or neglecting a minority group “would bring back the mistakes done in the past two peace talks wherein no real peace was attained.”
Gabriela Partylist Rep. Luz Ilagan echoed the same concern as she stressed that the rights and well-being of indigenous people should be upheld in the BBL, otherwise true peace would remain elusive.
“The Lumads have been victims of broken promises before. When the previous peace talks were being negotiated, their well-being was part of them. But when the peace talks were signed, their concerns were relegated to the sidelines,” she said.
“This should never happen again,” Ilagan stressed.
For his part, Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares said that while other lawmakers may debate on the constitutionality of certain provisions and others may debate on whether the BBL would truly be the key to everlasting peace in the war-torn region, the House Minority would carefully study the document first before engaging in all discussions.
“We would carefully study the proposed BBL to ensure that all these concerns are truly addressed,” Colmenares said.