Thursday, March 1, 2018

BBL reaches Senate plenary

From Malaya Business Insight (Mar 1): BBL reaches Senate plenary

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday formally opened for plenary debates the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law which he said “gives greatest latitude if not full autonomy” to the new Bangsamoro government that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

In his sponsorship speech on Senate Bill 1717 under Committee Report 255, Zubiri, chairman of the sub-committee on BBL under the committee on local governments, said the new proposed BBL will give Moro people the capability to assert their political and economic self-determination, pursue development programs according to their peculiar historical, cultural, religious and national identities.

The sub-committee conducted 11 public hearings and six whole days of technical working group meetings, and ensured that no provision in the proposal would be questioned before the Supreme Court for its unconstitutionality.

Zubiri said he talked with President Duterte, who promised to certify the bill as urgent in his State of the Nation Address.

At the inauguration of the Bahay Pag-Asa in Marawi City, President again made a pitch for the BBL as the tool that would ensure peace and progress in Mindanao.

“It will pass Congress,” he said.

At the House of Representatives, the proposal is still at the committee level.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, chairman of the committee on local government, said BBL has the ultimate goal of achieving long-lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao.

“The BBL comprises our greatest legal arsenal for achieving peace. It will ensure that the region will become a fertile ground, no longer for violence or terrorism, but for opportunities and active civic engagement. BBL can be life-saving, and hopefully life-changing,” said Angara in his speech.

He said the BBL is needed to help stop armed groups from recruiting and amassing critical support.

Zubiri said the proposed BBL includes a provision that penalizes the unprincipled transfer of a politician from one party to another.

“This bill proposes that if a member of the parliament, after having been elected under the proportional representation system, transfers to another during his incumbency, he will forfeit his seat,” he said.

He said an anti-dynasty provision has also been included in the proposed law, which prohibits relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity in the parliament.

Under the measure, the core territory includes the present territory of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao plus six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, cities of Cotabato and Isabela, 39 barangays in North Cotabato, and other areas that may petition to join the Bangsamoro.

He explained that the reserved powers would be retained by the national government while the concurrent powers will be shared by the Central Government and the Bangsamoro government. The BBL enumerates 14 powers exercised by both governments.

The exclusive powers that are granted the Bangsamoro are agriculture, public administration and waste management, among others.

Zubiri said the Bangsamoro government, a parliamentary government, will be headed by the chief minister and supported by a cabinet.

He said the parliamentary system of government is closer to their tradition as it mirrors their traditional leadership such as the Ruma Bichara (Council) of the Sultanate of Sulu or the Atas (Council) Bichara of the Sultanate of Maguindanao.

Under the bill, the Bangsamoro Justice System will cover the implementation of the civil, commercial and minor criminal aspects of the Shariah law if the parties are Muslims or where parties have voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the Shariah court.

Regular courts will continue to function and allow for the other indigenous peoples in the region to continue to practice their customary laws.

On public order and safety, the Bangsamoro Police will remain part of the Philippine National Police.

Zubiri said a block grant, consisting of six percent of the net collections both of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs, will be automatically appropriated and regularly released to the Bangsamoro akin to the system adopted for the internal revenue allotment of the local government units.

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