Lobregat vows to remain as watchdog on BBL in Congress PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 August 2016 11:56

By DEXTER YAP

Congressman Celso Lobregat has emphasized that he will stay firm in his position to defend the stand of the city with regard to the shelved Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) or formerly known as House Bill 4994 entitled “An Act Providing for the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro and Abolishing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.”

The bill is expected to stir renewed intensive debate once it is tackled in Congress under the new administration.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently announced that he will explore the possibilities of revisiting the BBL saying he will approve it without the contentious provisions deemed as unconstitutional.

Duterte already directed Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza to find ways to resume talks with the MILF and re-discuss the BBL issue provided they will respect the rights of other Filipinos who refuse to be included in their proposal.

Congressman Lobregat reiterated that Zamboanga City is not against BBL, if its in accordance with the Constitution and will respect the right of the people to choose to be excluded on a proposed expanded Bangsamoro territory.

The solon expects he will be coordinated by Secretary Dureza on the said issue to seek for his views and positions in the matters unacceptable to both parties concerned.

“I am for peace, but I am not for appeasement at the expense of the republic,” Lobregat said.

Recall that Lobregat proposed over 120 amendments over the course of more than 40 hearings in the 16th Congress about BBL.

The proposed Bangsamoro basic law calls for a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao with greater powers and resources than the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in a bid to end almost five decades armed conflict.

Lobregat believes that the only way for the measure to be passed is to remove the glaring unconstitutional provisions.

The BBL lost support in Congress following the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers in an encounter with Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.

Lobregat described the Mamasapano clash as an eye-opener for lawmakers on the changes that should be made in the Bangsamoro bill.

“Rest assured that I will be there to the very end, fighting for Zamboanga City’s interest, standing firm for what is best for Mindanao, defending the Constitution and protecting the republic,” Lobregat stressed. – Dexter Yap