Beng urges solons to leave Zambo out of Bangsamoro PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 November 2014 12:03

Mayor Beng Climaco on Friday urged members of the House of Representatives to exclude Zamboanga City or any part of its territorial jurisdiction including the municipal waters and island villages from the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) or House Bill No. 4994, which seeks to establish a political entity under leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF).

Speaking for Zamboanga City and the Zamboangueños during the congressional public hearing on the draft BBL at Centro Latino last Friday, Mayor Climaco passionately articulated the city’s official stand on the Bangsamoro issue, citing several provisions of the bill that are inconsistent with the Philippine Constitution.

Climaco emphasized, however, that the city government of Zamboanga under her administration rallies behind Pres. Aquino’s peace initiatives with the MILF to attain a genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao, but said the people of Zamboanga City had already spoken overwhelmingly in two plebiscites against inclusion in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or any succeeding political entity similar to or in place of the ARMM.

As the local chief executive, Climaco said she is bound to respect, protect and stand by the voice of the majority of her constituents, for which she appealed to the country’s lawmakers, particularly the Lower House’s Ad Hoc Committee on the draft BBL to also do the same.

She asserted that municipal waters belong to all Filipinos and not only to any tribe and the power to levy taxes, being the lifeblood of government, should not be given to the Bangsamoro as it might reduce the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the local government units.

As a show of support, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and members of the City Council stood beside Mayor Climaco as she read the city’s official position paper on the Bangsamoro issue for the Ad Hoc Committee solons and the public to know.

At least 20 congresspersons came over for the public hearing initiated by the Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL chaired by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez

After the mayor was Iturralde’s turn to read before the Committee Resolution No.1320 of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, expressing its opposition to the inclusion of ?amboanga City in the Bangsamoro, and proposed certain amendments to the bill.

The local legislative body recommended, among others, that the “opt-in anytime” provision be deleted from the draft BBL, that there should be no creation of ?ones of Joint Cooperation in the Sulu Sea and Moro Gulf, and that the natural resources, their use and enjoyment shall remain under the exclusive jurisdiction of the national government.

Councilor Charlie Mariano was tasked to chair the Council’s Special Committee of the Whole on the BBL which drafted the recommendations and amendments to certain provisions of HB 4994.

The HB 4994 if approved into law will effectively abolish the existing ARMM, repeal for the purpose the RA 9054 that strengthened and expanded the Organic Act of the ARMM and the RA 6734, otherwise known as the Organic Act for the ARMM.— Vic Larato