MANILA — The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is still on track towards passage by the two chambers of Congress, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III said in a radio interview aired Thursday.
The President told Bombo Radyo that the so-called delay in the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL is actually a “positive development” and not a problem compared to the situation of the bill after the Mamasapano incident.
But President Aquino pointed out that he and other peace supporters would find a “watered-down” version of the BBL unacceptable because it will be tantamount to reducing benefits accruing to the Bangsamoro people.
“Kung babawasan pa ang nakatakdang benepisyo ng Bangsamoro, mistulang pagkait na rin ito ng pagkakataon para makahabol o makapantay man lang sila sa matagal nang tinatamasa ng ibang mamamayan. Imbes na bawasan ang BBL, mas mabuting dagdagan para mas angkop sa mga napagkasunduan (If we will cut more from what the Bangsamoro is supposed to get, then they will have a problem catching up with the rest of the country. Instead of giving them less, we should give more benefits to Bangsamoro),” President Aquino told Bombo Radyo.
He also expressed optimism that the members of the Ad Hoc Committee are now in the process of enhancing and improving the proposed BBL as the same is now considered as a historic measure once enacted into law.
An enhanced law will further help the Bangsamoro push towards attaining lasting peace and genuine development in Mindanao, the President said.
According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) data in 2012, the areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) posted the highest poverty incidence among families in the country’s 17 regions nationwide in 2012, with Lanao del Sur posting the highest at 68.9% and Maguindanao at 57.8%.
“Kailangan naman ng dagdag-tulak para makahabol sila. Hindi makalampas ‘yung hinahabol pa lang, makapantay man lang (They need an extra push so they could catch up with the rest, not surpass everyone but just to catch up),” President Aquino said, adding that the same is also the view of majority of Filipinos.