Marcos report is a “progress” but BTC still appeals for a BBL that is faithful to signed agreements August 15, 2015Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
Manila – The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) sees the substitute bill sponsored on Tuesday (August 12) by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as a “progress” as the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) can now be debated in the Senate plenary level.
The BTC however still stands pat with the resolution it adopted on July 29, 2015 that the original form of the BBL is the “most appropriate version” since the provisions of the same are consistent with the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
Labeled as Senate Bill No. 2894, the substitute bill appears to have numerous modifications and even deletions of substantial provisions contained in the original draft BBL filed as Senate Bill No. 2408.
In his media pronouncements, Sen. Marcos said that around 80% of the original BBL was amended. True enough, Senate Bill No. 2894 appears to be as such.
While the Commission understands the desire of Sen. Marcos for wanting a BBL that is inclusive and all-embracing, yet it does not agree with the senator’s statement that discussions on the BBL and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) were done in “secret meetings in hotel rooms, far away places.”
“The negotiations took 17 years, witnessed by international bodies. During the crafting of the BBL we reached as far as Tawi-tawi, partnered with CSOs in conducting consultations with the public and foreign and local experts on different subject matters,” said Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the BTC.
More work, continuous dialogue
“At least the speculations over the Marcos report are now over and we can now do more work,” Iqbal added. Despite the significant changes in the House and Senate versions, the BTC remains optimistic that changes in the substitute bills can be introduced during the period of amendments. Iqbal said that the BTC will “continue to work and engage with the lawmakers as continuous dialogue is the best option.”
Senate deliberations on SB 2894 are expected next week while interpellations on House Bill No. 5811 has not yet resumed. ###