"No" to BBL prevails at public hearing Print
Saturday, 03 March 2018 12:11

A resounding “No” to inclusion in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) prevailed during the public hearing and consultation conducted by the House of Representatives yesterday at Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College (ZCSPC) on the consolidated bills the seek to establish the Bangsamoro entity in place of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

No less than Mayor Beng Climaco gave the opening salvo by reading the official position of the City of Zamboanga, which has been firm, consistent and unequivocal.

She said that Zamboanga City has always been for peace, a just, meaningful and lasting peace in Mindanao.

“The BBL should likewise be inclusive, not isolative, of all groups, people and stakeholders to act forward in espousing meaningful, lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao and should abhor armed conflict,” Climaco declared in a statement she read before thousands of people that attended the public hearing and consultation presided over by Tawi-Tawi Rep. Ruby Sahali, chair of the House Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

Also present were former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria M. Arroyo, Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Rep. Welter Wee Palma of Zamboanga Sibugay, Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., chair of the Committee on Local Government; Rep. Mauyag Papandayan, chair of the Committee on Muslim Affairs, Zamboanga City’s very own congresspersons Rep. Celso Lobrega of District 1 and Rep. Mannix Dalipe of District 2 along with members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) headed by Atty. Joe Lorena, among others

“We expect the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass a BBL which is consistent and harmonious with and not contrary to the 1987 Philippine Constitution; a law that truly addresses grievances that bring about secession and armed conflicts in the Southern Philippines and not for mere appeasement; a law that treats every Mindanaoan on even keel; a law that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines,” the mayor said.

“The city should never form part nor be included in the Bangsamoro, now or ever. Neither of its 98 component barangays nor any of part/zone/sitio thereof should never be included in the Bangsamoro, now or ever,” she further said.

There were also speakers who supported the BBL and to allow residents of the city’s 38 Muslim-dominated barangays to decide by joining the BBL, whole others cited the benefits the city will get if it will form part of the Bangsamoro entity.

Other speakers were Councilor Kim Elago, Atty. Paul Ersando, Liga ng mga Barangay President and Councilor Jerry Perez, FEBERKAZA President Tito Espiritusanto, urban poor leaders, civic group and academe representatives.

The lower House members presented the public their proposed Bangsamoro law, consolidated from four bills filed in the House, including the draft of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The House sub-committee on the BBL has adopted the title “Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” (BAR) instead of the BTC’s proposed “Bangsamoro.”

The House of Representatives is eyeing the passage of the BBL by March 21.-(Vic Larato)