Celso named BBL sub-committee member Print
Friday, 15 December 2017 16:57

Zamboanga First District Congressman Celso L. Lobregat was named as one of the three members of the sub-committee who will take the lead in harmonizing the four Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) bills filed in the halls of Congress.

The bills seek to grant the autonomous region of Mindanao more flexibility, a wider range of authority in politics, economy and finance.

In an interview with RMN Zamboanga, Congressman Lobregat said that during their December 5 joint hearing of the committees on Local Government, Muslim Affairs and Peace and Reconciliation, the three committees held an initial deliberation on the BBL proposals including the creation of a sub-committee, which was unanimously approved by Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato with General Santos City), as chairman of the committee on local government, Rep. Mauyag Papandayan (2nd District, Lanao del Sur) chairman of the committee on Muslim Affairs, and Rep. Ruby Sahali (Lone District, Tawi-Tawi) chairperson of the committee on peace, reconciliation and unity.

Lobregat said that the role of the sub-committee is to harmonize the house bills on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as top priority.

Lobregat said that matters of contention would be elevated to the mother committee on local government.

He said that the joint committee decided to designate only three members to sit down in the Technical Working Group (TWG) who will consolidate the four versions of BBL, in which they will try to blend, cut out, take out and agree on the constitutional provisions of the said bill.

“The role of the sub-committee is to come up with a consolidated version of BBL to be submitted to the mother committee, where afterwards the deliberations and consultation follows,” Lobregat said.

The sub-committee, to be chaired by Rep. Wilter Wee Palma II (1st District, Zamboanga Sibugay) and represented by at least three members each from the three committees, will come up with a working draft bill based on House Bill 6475, 92, 6121 and 6263 authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sinsuat Sema (1st District, Maguindanao), Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) and Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo (1st District, Lanao del Norte), respectively.

The four bills seek to provide for the BBL and abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). They seek to repeal Republic Act 9054, entitled “An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” and RA 6374 entitled “An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao”.

Lobregat said the measures are specific to the quest for autonomy of Muslim Mindanao and yet had a significant impact as well as on the economy, finance and politics of the whole country.

Lobregat said that their role in the sub-committee is to make sure that  the law that Congress is going to legislate will be all-inclusive, meaning all the peoples’ rights within the Bangsamoro will be upheld, dignity and cultures will be preserved and will remain intact in accordance to the framework of the Philippine Constitution and once the consolidated version of the bill is materialized, public consultation follows in affected areas.

“I wanted to make sure that if the BBL passes, it will hurdle the best of constitutional process, as Zamboanga City has spoken and when I was mayor, we already went to the Supreme Court to defend our stand., I will be the one that who will be very vocal against the unconstitutional and substantive provisions of the BBL,” Lobregat said.

The restructured entity will enhance the existing system and procedures as well as establish a new set of institutional arrangements and modalities between the central government and the autonomous government with respect to the sharing of wealth and revenues, transitional aspects and normalization, meaning the decommissioning of firearms, in order to bring the lofty goals of the Bangsamoro Basic Law into fruition.

The BBL will emerge in the fulfillment of the constitutional mandate to create an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao truly reflective of the desires of the framers of the 1987 Constitution and the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

“Again, I would like to reiterate to the public, that I am for peace, I am not anti-peace but we need a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is just, fair, acceptable, feasible and within the realm of the constitution and existing laws,” Lobregat said. – Dexter Yap