MANILA – Amidst concerns, Senate Committee on Local Government chairman Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. clarified that his committee has no plans of disregarding the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
With the Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) raising some apprehensions over the Senate’s response to the proposed BBL, Marcos explained that his committee will only make numerous changes but will not write an entirely new proposal.
“Even what we call the Palace version (of the BBL) given to the House of Representatives can be considered a substitute bill. When I say substitute bill, it only means we have to do numerous changes and not necessarily that we have to re-write the entire proposal,” Marcos said in an interview.
“In many cases we won’t really have to revise or remove the provision entirely. We just have to clarify things because if you read the draft BBL it is not clear, for example, the specific functions of offices and agencies, and the power-sharing relations between the national government and the Bangsamoro government,” he added.
Hence, the substitute BBL will only provide detailed articles crucial to the efficient and orderly functions of the new Bangsamoro government.
“The substitute bill should provide such details as they are… necessary to prevent possible conflicts arising between the regional government and the national government… Clear-cut powers and functions are essential in delineating responsibilities and determining accountability” Marcos said.
Aside from clarifying the specific scope and functions of the Bangsamoro government, the Senate committee also has to address constitutional issues raised on the draft BBL.
According to Marcos, utmost scrutiny is needed in the proposed BBL so that when it is passed on to the Supreme Court; there will be higher chances for the bill to be approved as law.
At present, the Senate committee is still deciding if they are to just amend the organic law of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to speed up the crafting and to avoid some of the constitutional issues raised regarding the substitute BBL.
Aside from Marcos’ committee, two other committees are working hand-in-hand in finalizing the proposed BBL. These committees are the Santiago committee (chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santigao) and Senator Teofisto Guingona III’s Commmittee on Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation.
The proposed BBL is then expected to be passed by September this year.