BBL hearings focus on coverage, constitutionality Print
Thursday, 15 March 2018 12:03


The House committees on local government and Muslim Affairs as well as the special committee on peace, reconciliation and unity last week tackled several issues pertaining to the possible areas of coverage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law such as energy, natural resources, and land titling provisions of the bill and the BBL’s constitutionality.

House Panel member Rep. Celso Lobregat said that officials of the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Supreme Court (SC), and the Land Management Bureau (LMB) gave their insights and suggestions on the proposed BBL.

Energy Assistant Secretary Atty. Gerald Erguiza, Jr. said after a thorough review of the BBL, the DOE is not yet ready to integrate the energy matters into the BBL bill because there are so many complex things that still need to be studied.

Land Management Bureau Director Atty. Emelyne Talabis, said the LMB supports the passage of the BBL, particularly the decentralization of the cadastral survey to the Bangsamoro government, including the land disposition of public lands, land management, land declassification, and all other aspects of land administration and management.

In another hearing also last week, the committees listened to the views of resource persons on the constitutionality of the BBL.

Retired Justice and Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) Chairman Manuel Lazaro said while the objectives of the creation of the BBL are noble and aimed at the attainment peace, progress and prosperity in Muslim Mindanao, it is the Philconsa’s position that any bill, law, or measure that would be established to achieve these goals must be in consonance within the framework of the Constitution as well as the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines, as articulated in Section 15, Article 10 of the Constitution.

Zamboanga City Congressman Celso Lobregat said that that another creation of an autonomous region would require an amendment of the whole Constitution. Under the 1986 Constitution, there are only two autonomous regions being recognized namely, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Hence, these autonomous regions are constitutional creations and cannot be abolished by law. They can only be abolished by an amendment to the constitution, he said.

Lobregat said that not until the parked BBL provisions which were not agreed upon in the sub-committee level pertaining to the constitutionality of the tackled provisions, will be discussed and settled  by the joint committees, these issues will not be resolved.

The committee on local government is chaired by Rep. Pedro Acharon, Jr., while the committee on Muslim Affairs is chaired by Rep. Mauyag Papandayan, Jr. and the special committee on peace, reconciliation and unity is chaired by Rep. Ruby Sahali. – Dexter Yap