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Marcos to hear all stakeholders in BBL

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo
  • Published in Top Stories

SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr., intends to “correct” the failure of Congress to consult the stakeholders in the proposed creation of a Bangsamoro government in Southern Philippines through the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
   
Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government tasked to tackle the BBL, said that he made the right decision to conduct a two-day marathon hearing in Sulu and Zamboanga City on the BBL since it gave the panel “valuable input” that would help in crafting the final version of the BBL that will be acceptable to the stakeholders.
   
He said that the recent public hearings brought out in the open sentiments and concerns of local residents and officials over the draft BBL which were not given much attention in the congressional discussion on the BBL.
   
“There is really no substitute for talking to the locals,” said Marcos. He said that the “glaring issue” that came to the fore in the hearings in Sulu and Zamboanga is that of “inclusivity.”
   
In Jolo, for example, Marcos said that many resource persons decried that they were left out in the process “because they are MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front), because they are Tausugs, and they belong to the Sultanate of Sulu.” They want out of the proposed Bangsamoro territory as conceived in the draft BBL.
   
In the Zamboanga hearing, Basilan Governor Jum Akbar said that the five governors of provinces comprising the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) were “never consulted” in the drafting of the BBL.
   
Likewise, Marcos noted that majority of indigenous peoples (IPs) of Mindanao were apparently left out in the process.
   
“That is a very serious shortcoming in the process. That is why we are going to correct it. It is now well recognized that the only peace agreement that will bring true, just and lasting peace is one that includes all stakeholders in the BBL and in surrounding territories,” said Marcos.
   
He is set to hold a public hearing on the BBL for the MNLF and on May 25 for the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.
   
Marcos also intends to conduct another hearing for the local executives of areas that will be included in the core territory of the Bangsamoro entity and adjacent LGUs (local government units) even as the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives is set to vote on its version of BBL.
   
“And whatever shortcomings Congress has had in consulting with these entities we will try to correct in the next few weeks by asking them to come to the Senate and to give their views and opinions on the BBL,” he added. 

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