Cotabato Prov’l SP backs Celso on Bangsamoro PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 June 2014 11:23

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of the Province of Cotabato has approved a resolution endorsing to both Houses of Congress the statement of Zamboanga District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat on the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) during the deliberation of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a resolution approved on March 25, 2014, the Cotabato Provincial SP through the sponsorship of the Committees on Human Rights, Peace and Order and Laws, Rules and Privileges, expressed full support and adopted Lobregat’s personal manifestation about the FAB specifically on 6 issues.

“While he manifests full support to any initiative in search for the seemingly elusive peace in Mindanao, the Zamboanga District 1 congressman advanced and made public his personal manifestation about the GPH-MILF FAB for consideration in the formulation of the BBL particularly bringing to fore the following concerns: constitution and constitutional issues, tying the hands of Congress on the draft BBL, geographical and core territorial issues, area and plebiscite issues, national sovereignty and territorial integrity issues and normalization and security issues,” the Cotabato Provincial SP resolution 152 said.

The august body stressed that “in the pursuit of just and lasting peace in Mindanao there is a need for the GPH and MILF panels, as well as Congress to keep an open mind, listen and address the concerns and issues raised by the stakeholders.”

The resolution of endorsement, attested by Cotabato Provincial Vice Governor Gregorio Ipong, who is the SP presiding officer, was addressed to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

The proposed BBL is now being finalized before submission to Malacanang, which will in turn endorse the document to the House of Congress.

Among Lobregat’s concerns on the GPH-MILF FAB are the provisions on area and plebiscite particularly on the requirement for a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10% of the qualified voters in the area asking for their inclusion in the Bangsamoro core territory. He likewise expressed apprehensions on the the definition of contiguity.

In the aspect of constitution and constitutional issues, Lobregat questioned the absence of a clause or provision in the FAB acknowledging or affirming the constitution and if there are provisions in the FAB annexes and addendum that cannot be implemented without amending the constitution. “If none, why is it necessary to incorporate provisions tasking the Transition Commission to work on proposals to accommodate and entrench in the constitution the agreement of the parties?.”

In the matter of basic law ratification, the solon has raised concerns on implications of repealing RA 9054 which is the basic law incorporating the provisions of the Final Peace Agreement of 1996 considered as the full implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.

The FAB also ties the hands of Congress in the aspect of enacting laws, according to Lobregat. He said while Congress has the power to enact laws, specifically the BBL, the FAB and its annexes repeatedly provide that the Basic Law should be consistent with all agreement entered into and that may be entered into or in accordance with the provisions of the FAB. “It is repeatedly stated that all agreements entered into have to be implemented”.

The congressman also expressed concerns on the FAB provisions related to national sovereignty and territorial integrity issues and normalization and security issues which, he said are not consistent with existing national and even international laws and would bring about negative implications to the general public. — Joefel de las Penas