Soroptimist Club lauds Lobregat on BBL stand PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 May 2015 09:26

By Jubels Santos

The Soroptimist International of the Philippines Region (SIPR) held its 25th Mid-Biennial Conference at the Garden Orchid Hotel in Zamboanga City on May 14-16, 2015. Congressman Celso L. Lobregat of Zamboanga City, 1st District was invited to be a Resource Speaker on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on the last day of the Conference on May 16.

The SIPR delegates applauded Lobregat’s presentation as it comprehensively discussed the issues on the BBL. Said presentation enlightened the delegates and enhanced their understanding of the proposed law. 2014- 2016 SIPR Governor Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar thanked Congressman Lobregat for accepting their invitation to speak on the BBL before the Soroptimist delegates.

Among those in attendance were SIPR Governor Myra Paz Valderrosa Abubakar, SIA Federation Director Ma. Paloma Papa, Past Governors Congresswoman Linabelle Ruth R. Villarica of the 4th District of Bulacan, Tes Choa, Pat Montemayor and Joy Valdez. Also present were Vice-Governor Gabrielle “Billy” Calizo of Aklan, Vice Mayor Jeannie Sandoval of Malabon, Councilors Em Ang and Sonya Verdeflor of Bacolod, Councilor Winnie Ortiz of Olongapo, and Former Congresswoman Reylina “Neneng” G. Nicolas (Bulacan, 4th District). The Region Officers and Club Presidents and members coming from the 61 of the 87 clubs throughout the country were present in the said convention.

Speaking before the 267 SIPR delegates, Lobregat stressed “I am for peace. I am not anti-peace. But we need a BBL to be just, fair, acceptable, feasible and more important to be consistent with the Constitution and national laws. We need a law that will be able to stand legal scrutiny and not end up like the failed MOA-AD that was declared as Contrary to Law and the Constitution.”

“The problem begins when you start reading, analyzing, understanding the different provisions and its implications. The Title Says It All,” Lobregat said.

Lobregat also cited the presentation by Dr. Alan T. Ortiz “Bangsamoro: War or Peace?” during the FINEX-MAP Forum on the Bangsamoro Basic Law held last April 29, 2015 at the Hotel Inter-Continental Manila.

Based on the said presentation, “The term ‘Bangsamoro’ was first used in a March 1935 letter of 120 Lanao datus to FDR asking for Bangsamoro Statehood instead of Filipino citizenship. Next mention is in MNLF 1968 Manifesto on Bangsamoro Statehood, signaling the start of hostilities in Mindanao. No mention of ‘Bangsamoro’ in 1976 Tripoli Agreement nor in the law creating the ARMM; only emerges in ill-fated and unconstitutional 2008 MOA-AD under GMA.”

Lobregat added that in the proposed BBL, Bangsamoro is used to describe: Bangsamoro Government (BBL Article I, Article VII); Bangsamoro People – Identity (BBL Article II); and Bangsamoro Territory (BBL Article III) - 3 of the four elements of a state as laid down in the Montevideo Convention of 1933.

Lobregat also presented the timeline concerning the peace process and the ARMM: from the 1976 Tripoli Agreement (Marcos Era), 1987 Constitution (Cory Administration), 1989 RA 6734 (Cory Administration), 1996 Final Peace Agreement (Ramos Administration), then the break away of the MILF from MNLF - the Ramos Administration began its negotiation with MILF in 1997, the 2001 RA 9054 (Gloria Arroyo’s take over of Estrada’s Administration), Arroyo’s Administration continued the peace negotiation with MILF. Then in 2008 the Supreme Court declared MOA-AD Contrary to Law and Contrary to the Constitution. Then the present Aquino Administration resumes peace talks with the MILF.

This followed the signing of the FAB (October 15, 2012), Annex on Transitional Arrangement and Modalities (February 2013), Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing (July 2013), Annex on Power Sharing (December 2013), Annex on Normalization and the Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation (January 25, 2014) until the signing of the CAB (March 27, 2014).

Lobregat also mentioned that the CAB, a 5-page document that lists down 12 prior agreements and various other agreements, guidelines, terms of reference and joint statements which constitute an integral part of the Comprehensive Agreement, states in the last paragraph: “The Parties commit to faithfully abide by, honor, respect, implement and entrench these agreements, and nurture the integrity of the whole peace process. An Exit Agreement shall be crafted and signed by both Parties when all Agreements have been fully implemented.”

Lobregat stated that this is very different from the FPA which states in the Totality Clause: “This Peace Agreement which is the full implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement embodies and constitutes the totality of all the agreements, covenant and understandings between the GRP and the MNLF respecting all subject matters embodied herein. This Agreement supersedes and modifies all agreements, consensus, covenants, documents and communications not referred to or embodied in this Agreement or whose terms and conditions are otherwise inconsistent herewith. Any conflict in the interpretation of this Agreement shall be resolved in the light of the Philippine Constitution and existing laws.”

Furthermore, Lobregat cited that in the FAB, Annexes, Addendum and the CAB, there is no single affirmation of the Philippine Constitution or the territorial integrity, sovereignty of the Republic.

Lobregat also mentioned in his presentation some of the problematic and/or unconstitutional provisions of the  BBL which include the issue on self-determination, Bangsamoro people, Territory, issue on the contiguous territory, the creation of parliamentary form of government, power sharing, wealth sharing, constitutional bodies, public order and safety particularly on the operational control and supervision and disciplinary powers over the Bangsamoro Police given to the Chief Minister and the need to establish coordination protocols between the Central Government and Bangsamoro Government on the movement of AFP in the Bangsamoro, among others.

In his closing, Lobregat cited the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan, which clearly states: “The government therefore will invite all rebel groups to become advocates and partners in advancing the peace process for the greater good of the country and people. The peace process shall be pursued comprehensively. However, it will not come at any price nor at the cost of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic.”

“Yes I am for peace, but not for appeasement at the expense of the Republic” Lobregat remarked.

SIPR is an international socio-civic women’s organization with clubs in the Philippines. Its name means “the best for women” and its mission is to improve the lives of women and girls in all parts of the world. In the Philippines, there are currently 87 clubs throughout the country consisting of career women, businesswomen, and professionals who contribute time and raise funds for projects that benefit girls and women. — Jubels Santos