Beng shelves Rodriguez’s reply until BBL is approved PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 14:11

by Vic Larato

Mayor Beng Climaco yesterday appeared she was unlikely to believe the words of commitment and reassurance of Rep. Rufus Rodriguez that Zamboananga City will not be part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

“I don’t believe Congressman Rodriguez’s words, not this time yet. We will wait until the draft law is approved,” the chief executive said during the press briefing in City Hall yesterday morning.

She said the draft Bangasamoro Basic Law (BBL), which seeks to create the Bangasamoro entity, has a long way yet to its final approval and as of now it remains pending in the lower House for further deliberation has not even reached the bicameral committee.

In the meantime, Climaco said she will have Congressman Rodriguez’s letter of commitment and assurance shelved for future reference and wait for the final approval of the BBL.

This, after the mayor received a letter from Rep. Rodriguez of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro City, reiterating his commitment and assurance to the people of Zamboanga City that it will never be part of the proposed Bangasamoro juridical entity that will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

To recall, the City Council passed a resolution last June 9, expressing displeasure to Congressman Rodriguez for inserting in his report a provision under Section 4 the 1976 Tripoli Agreement wherein Zamboanga City was identified as one of those areas within the autonomous region (ARRM).

In approving Resolution 673, the City Council believed that Rodriguez’s action was dishonouring his commitment and assurance to the people of Zamboanga during the public hearing on the draft BBL here sometime in May that the city will not and never will be part of the Bangsamoro entity.

In response, Rodriguez, who chairs the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on the draft BBL, wrote Mayor Beng Climaco and clarified that the mention of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement in the BBL does not automatically mean that all the cities or areas mentioned in the said Agreement are included in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

The CDO lawmaker further explained that under the draft BBL, there is still the requirement of contiguity as provided in “Sec. 3. Contiguous Territory,” which states: “Any local government unit or geographical area outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro but which are contiguous to any of the component units of the Bangsamoro AND within the area of autonomy identified in the 1976 Tripoli Agreement may opt to be part of the Bangasamoro by filing a petition of at least 10% of the registered voters of the interested local government unit or geographical area.”

“It is unfair to state that I have dishonoured my commitment and assurance to the people of Zamboanga City,” Rodriguez said in his Aug. 3 letter to Mayor Climaco, and pointed out that Zamboanga City is never contiguous to the Bangasamoro Area and will not be a part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

He further added that the House leadership had already agreed to remove the “opt-in” provision in the proposed law. “Therefore, Zamboanga City will never be included in the Bangsamoro,” he reiterated.

However, Climaco said the solon’s words of commitment are not enough reason to believe that Zamboanga City will really not and should never be a part of the Bangsamoro, pending the BBL’s approval.— Vic Larato