Drilon to BBL critics: “Please give us an alternative”

By , on February 26, 2015

Senate President Franklin Drilon. Photo courtesy of Drilon's official Facebook page.
Senate President Franklin Drilon. Photo courtesy of Drilon’s official Facebook page.

MANILA  – Senate President Franklin Drilon on Wednesday challenged the critics of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to provide alternative that would direct the road to true and lasting peace in Mindanao.

”Those who are opposing it, please give us alternatives so that we can achieve peace in Mindanao. We are willing to listen,” Drilon said.

Despite the Mamasapano incident that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos dead, Drilon said the BBL with modifications, “can serve best the quest for peace.”

”It’s ease to criticize but let’s come up with the alternatives. We know that what we are looking at is a sustainable peace in Mindanao as a foundation for economic progress to address the poverty of our people there,” Drilon said.

Drilon said an all-out war is not the solution to the problem in Mindanao.

Last Jan. 25, the 392-member SAF team carried out a mission entitled ‘Oplan Exodus’ to capture two high-profile terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and Basit Usman.

The SAF men have successfully neutralized Marwan but a booby trap exploded, alerting the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) combatants to attack the SAF men.

The encounter lasted for almost the entire day, leaving 44 SAF commandos dead, including 35 of the 36 members of the 55th Special Action Company.

The bloody encounter prompted some senators, including Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Joseph Victor Ejercito to withdraw their support to the BBL.

The Senate committee on local government, headed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., suspended its public hearings on the BBL to give way to the Senate inquiries into the Mamasapano incident.

With the conclusion of the Senate probe on Mamasapano last Tuesday, Drilon said Marcos’ panel should not start discussing anew the BBL.

”Our new time table is the end of the second regular session of the 16th Congress. In other words, mid-June. That’s my proposal that we set as a new target,” Drilon said.

The Senate’s original target to finish the BBL was middle of March or before the Lenten break that will start March 21.