Philippine Daily Inquirer

New BBL ver­sion wor­ries groups

Lat­est ver­sion of Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law to cre­ate ‘weak mir­ror im­age’ of ARMM, they say

- —STORYBY JIG­GER J. JERUSAL-EMANDDIVIN­A SUSON Politics · Civil Society · Human Rights · Society · Congress of the United States · Moro Islamic Liberation Front · Bangsamoro Transition Commission · National Movement · Lanao del Norte · Bangsamoro Autonomous Region · Jamiatu Muslim Mindanao

MARAWI CITY— Civil so­ci­ety groups in Min­danao urged the bi­cam­eral con­fer­ence in Con­gress to re­store the orig­i­nal pro­vi­sions on the power of the Bangsamoro po­lit­i­cal en­tity in the lat­est ver­sion of the Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law. More than 18,000 plac­ard-bearing peo­ple staged a peace rally here on Wed­nes­day, ask­ing Con­gress to pass a law that jibes with the signed peace deal.

MARAWI CITY— Civil so­ci­ety groups in Min­danao ex­pressed alarm over Con­gress’ ver­sion of the Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law (BBL), which re­duced the power of Bangsamoro, the pro­posed po­lit­i­cal en­tity set to re­place the Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in Mus­lim Min­danao, in the peace agree­ment between the gov­ern­ment and the Moro Is­lamic Lib­er­a­tion Front.

The groups, whose mem­bers and sup­port­ers gath­ered at Jamiatu Mus­lim Min­danao quad­ran­gle at Barangay Matam­pay here on Wed­nes­day, called on Con­gress to make sure that the fi­nal ver­sion of BBL jibed with what was agreed upon in the Com­pre­hen­sive Agree­ment on the Bangsamoro.

This would pre­vent the pos­si­ble rise of break­away groups that would “cap­i­tal­ize” on the Moro peo­ple’s dis­sat­is­fac­tion over the fate of the peace ac­cord, they said.

Peace rally

More than 18,000 peo­ple, some of them bearing plac­ards which read, “Peace, not war,” “Orig­i­nal BBL” and “BBL BTC (Bangsamoro Tran­si­tion Com­mis­sion) ver­sion,” at­tended the peace rally here on Wed­nes­day.

The groups, which in­cluded Ranaw Mul­ti­sec­toral Move­ment, Coali­tion of Moro Youth Move­ment, Ranao Con­fed­er­a­tion for Peace, and Bangsamoro Na­tional Move­ment for Peace and De­vel­op­ment, also called on Con­gress to pass the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the BBL.

Hun­dreds of fam­i­lies, who were dis­placed dur­ing the Marawi City siege and were still stay­ing in the evac­u­a­tion cen­ters and tent ci­ties, also joined the peace rally.

In a state­ment, the groups said the new BBL ver­sion in Con­gress al­ready de­vi­ated from the ver­sion drafted by the Bangsamoro Tran­si­tion Com­mis­sion.

They said the lat­est ver­sion would only cre­ate a “weak mir­ror im­age” of the ARMM, the po­lit­i­cal en­tity it was to re- place, sup­pos­edly to strengthen Moro au­ton­omy.

Mean­ing­ful au­ton­omy

“We note sadly that both houses [of Con­gress], should they per­sist in their re­vi­sions, will fail to re­place the weak au­ton­o­mous gov­ern­ment with a strong au­ton­o­mous gov­ern­ment. We­fear that the re­sult­ing au­ton­omy law for the Bangsamoro will lose the essence of mean­ing­ful au­ton­omy,” they said.

The groups ap­pealed to mem­bers of the bi­cam­eral con­fer­ence to con­sider restor­ing the deleted or trans­ferred power of the Bangsamoro au­ton­o­mous gov­ern­ment.

They high­lighted six points in their ap­peal, among them, for Con­gress to re­store the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the BBL on in­land waters, which should be placed un­der the ex­clu­sive power of the Bangsamoro.

They also wanted Con­gress to re­store the orig­i­nal pro­vi­sions of House Bill No. 6475 on the power of the Bangsamoro gov­ern­ment to reg­u­late power gen­er­a­tion, trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion that would be op­er­ated ex­clu­sively in the Bangsamoro and not to be con­nected to the na­tional trans­mis­sion grid.

They also wanted the orig­i­nal pro­vi­sion of the bill on the share in the na­tional taxes col- lected in the Bangsamoro and on the pro­vi­sion on the pe­ri­odic plebiscite.

“In the event that it is im­pos­si­ble to re­store the orig­i­nal pro­vi­sion of the bill on the core ter­ri­tory of Bangsamoro, (we ask Con­gress to) adopt the ver­sion of the Se­nate on the pro­vi­sion of core ter­ri­tory, par­tic­u­larly on the six towns of Lanao del Norte, so that it would no longer re­quire the con­sent of the whole prov­ince,” they said.

“We ask Con­gress to re­con­sider the wis­dom of build­ing a strong au­ton­omy for the Bangsamoro as the only key to achieve na­tional peace and sol­i­dar­ity,” they added.

‘De­cent, no­ble ges­ture’

The groups said strong au­ton­omy should not be viewed as threat to na­tional sovereignt­y but as the “most de­cent and no­ble ges­ture” to al­low a sov­er­eign peo­ple to live as a “self-gov­ern­ing en­tity” within the sovereignt­y of Philip­pine state.

“To­gether, we can­not af­ford an­other ‘failed ex­per­i­ment,’” they said, re­fer­ring to the ARMM. “If we do not build a strong au­ton­omy, but merely add or change a thing or two weak pro­vi­sions to an en­tity that might as well be the same old ARMM, we will only be court­ing dis­as­ter,” they said.

“We can­not af­ford to un­justly frus­trate a long-hope­ful, long-suf­fer­ing peo­ple and not ex­pect to see them take ex­treme vi­o­lent ac­tions,” they added.

 ??  ??
 ?? —RICHEL UMEL Ed­i­tor Robert Ja­worski L. Abaño ?? SUP­PORT­ING BBL Plac­ards sup­port­ing the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law are dis­played in Marawi City dur­ing a peace gath­er­ing or­ga­nized by civil so­ci­ety groups in Min­danao.
—RICHEL UMEL Ed­i­tor Robert Ja­worski L. Abaño SUP­PORT­ING BBL Plac­ards sup­port­ing the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law are dis­played in Marawi City dur­ing a peace gath­er­ing or­ga­nized by civil so­ci­ety groups in Min­danao.
 ?? —RICHEL UMEL ?? Moro women from Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur prov­inces join groups urg­ing Con­gress to strengthen the pro­posed Bangsamoro, a po­lit­i­cal en­tity that will re­place the Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in Mus­lim Min­danao.
—RICHEL UMEL Moro women from Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur prov­inces join groups urg­ing Con­gress to strengthen the pro­posed Bangsamoro, a po­lit­i­cal en­tity that will re­place the Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in Mus­lim Min­danao.

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