Celso cites importance of massive information drive on CAB in Zambo PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 April 2014 11:28

District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat has underscored anew the need for Zamboanga residents to read, study and understand fully well the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) and its annexes to come up with an intelligent position on the matter.

Lobregat on his own has launched an information drive on the Bangsamoro agreement for various sectors in Zamboanga in a bid to make the people aware of the content of the accord and its annexes.

“Thank you for their concern but we have to let the people know of all these details. How can the people understand if you don’t discuss it with them?” the solon asked referring to some comments that he should ventilate all these issues in Congress and not merely to create “noise” in the city.

Lobregat reiterated that his assertions on some “gray” areas in the agreement and the annexes are based on the provisions in the said documents and not merely to sow apprehensions or fear among the people as alleged by his critics.

“Pakilaya tu sabe si cosa tu ta ase si hinde tu abla? We were instructed to consult with the constituents and so this is part of our district work—to inform and consult with the public,” the District 1 solon asserted. As a result of his meetings with various sectors to include the fishing group, many people including private organizations have requested that the congressman sit down with them to discuss about the said agreement.

He asked: ”Do they expect me to just keep quiet? Perhaps our critics should have been present when the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) came over to the city for a public forum where the issue about contiguity was asked and the answer was that by land no but by waters it is silent. That is very disturbing.”

Lobregat said definitely he will exert his best efforts to air all the “gray areas” in the agreement when the CAB is presented to Congress for deliberation.

The CAB was formally signed by the chiefs of the government and MILF panels during formal rites attended by President Aquino and the Malaysian Prime Minister in Malacanang a week ago. The Bangsamoro law is now being drafted by the BTC and will soon be submitted to the House of Representatives for deliberation and approval.

Among the contentious issues in the FAB that Lobregat pointed out are the contiguity in the territory and the 10% of the residents provision which he said pose risk in including Zamboanga in the Bangsamoro territory despite strong opposition from the residents.

Part 5 number 5 of the FAB states that “Territory refers to the land mass as well as the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains, and the aerial domain and the atmospheric space above it. Governance shall be as agreed upon by the parties in this agreement and in the sections on wealth and power sharing”.

The same provision can also be read in conjunction with the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation Addendum to the Annex on Revenue generation and Wealth Sharing and the Annex on Power Sharing. It states that the “Bangsamoro waters shall extend up to 22.224 kilometers (12 nautical miles) from the low water mark of the coasts that are part of the Bangsamoro territory. The Bangsamoro Waters shall be part of the territorial juristdiction of the Bangsamoro political entity”.

It further states that “where a constituent local government unit of the Bangsamoro and an adjoining local government unit are so situated on the opposite shores such that there is thirty (30) kilometers of waters or less between them, a line equally distant from the opposite shores shall be drawn to demarcate the Bangsamoro waters and the municipal waters of the adjoining local government unit”.

“We hope that Zamboanga is not included in the Bangsamoro territory but we have to analyze it well, decipher it so we can seek clarifications and make our positions on the matter.

Even BTC head Mohaguer Igbal in a public forum in Zamboanga last February 12 said the FAB is “silent” on whether or not Zamboanga’s waters are included in the new entity’s waters.   “Since the framework is silent on it, I don’t want to speak about it. I am silent to this and please don’t push me to say anything that is silent on that framework,” he later told a national reporter.

Lobregat added: “Kilaya sila abla silent cay talla mismo na framework agreement puede encontra el definition del territory”. — Rey Carbonel