We’re out! PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 August 2015 14:09

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — On my way to my cardiologist at the White Memorial Hospital, a friend from Manila tweeted to say that Zamboanga city is definitely out of the proposed Bangsamoro political entity under the revised Senate version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law as submitted by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., chairman of the committee on local government.

The watered-down BBL senate version which, according to Marcos, extricates it from constitutional challenge has vehemently been rejected by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying that it veers away from the original proposal as agreed by both the Philippine peace panel and the MILF’s. It now becomes the House, Malacanang, MILF version versus the Senate’s.

But more significantly, the senate version puts Zamboanga in a situation where we can negotiate to acquire the properties of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, through the national government situated in Cabatangan. Mayor Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar, Congresswoman Lilia Nuno and their lawyers are trying to strike a compromise with Malacanang and the ARMM on the manner by which Zamboanga can acquire the properties.

Because of oversight (intentional neglect?), the city government failed to perfect the deal with the oversight committee headed by the executive secretary after we bought the land where now stands the buildings of the defunct regional autonomous government. The price for the acquisition of the properties was pegged a long time ago. The person most knowledgeable about this deal is Atty. Vic Solis. Kindly elucidate attorney.

Meanwhile, as it appears, we are definitely out of the proposed Bangsamoro whose seat of power will still be Cotabato city. If the BBL is passed (the unified version of the House and the Senate), a plebiscite in the areas under the proposed Muslim autonomous region will most likely be held early next year before the national elections. When ratified, the president can sign it into law, immediately replacing the existing ARMM, with a modified and more powerful autonomous region realistic and acceptable to the Muslims, or to be exact, the MILF. Bear in mind that the MNLF had no part in the peace process.

The Senate version of the BBL, according to many legal minds, is acceptable. The same Senate draft is set for debates and further amendments/refinements next week. And it permanently shuts the door to the inclusion of Zamboanga city in the modified ARMM, or whatever they may choose to call it later.

Malacanang always has its way of getting things done through people, in this case, the legislators. Its political opponents are languishing in special jails, if not about to land in jail, starting with PGMA and the Trio Los Panchitos. More will follow, including perhaps Sen. Gringo Honasan (he will elude arrest when the time comes). Wait until Rodrigo Duterte, the feisty mayor from Davao, becomes president. The entire government bureaucracy may be jailed.

It’s time our leaders stopped talking about the BBL. We’re out. We should start seriously minding our borders to make sure that the terrorists are kept from undermining our peace and security. The police and military need to be more vigilant against violent disturbances.

As for the mayor, she has everything cemented. She is now a politician “de primera clase.” Her “Dia de Alcalde” program in the barangays has given her positive points and increased her acceptability and trust ratings.

May 2016 will be a fight to the last ballot. The result is going to be close, a nose close. Good luck. In the meantime, Happy Fiesta Pilar to one and all!