Read, study, understand Bangsamoro pact — Celso Print
Thursday, 27 February 2014 14:06

District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat underscored the need for people to read, study and understand fully well the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) and its annexes to come up with an intelligent position on the matter.

The solon emphasized that his assertions on some “gray” areas in the framework agreement and the annexes are based on the provisions in the said documents and not merely to sow apprehensions or fear among the people as what a District 1 councilor alleged in a press statement published yesterday.

Among the contentious issues in the FAB that Lobregat pointed out are the contiguity in the territory and the 10% of the residents provision which he said pose risk in the inclusion of Zamboanga in the Bangsamoro territory despite strong opposition from the residents.

Part 5 number 5 of the FAB states that “Territory refers to the land mass as well as the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains, and the aerial domain and the atmospheric space above it. Governance shall be as agreed upon by the parties in this agreement and in the sections on wealth and power sharing”.

The same provision can also be read in conjunction with the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation Addendum to the Annex on Revenue generation and Wealth Sharing and the Annex on Power Sharing. It states that the “Bangsamoro waters shall extend up to 22.224 kilometers (12 nautical miles) from the low water mark of the coasts that are part of the Bangsamoro territory. The Bangsamoro Waters shall be part of the territorial juristdiction of the Bangsamoro political entity”.

It further states that “where a constituent local government unit of the Bangsamoro and an adjoining local government unit are so situated on the opposite shores such that there is thirty (30) kilometers of waters or less between them, a line equally distant from the opposite shores shall be drawn to demarcate the Bangsamoro waters and the municipal waters of the adjoining local government unit”.

Lobregat offered to give the documents to the District 1 Councilor so that the latter can read and understand the provision of the framework agreement and its annexes and can come up with an intelligent position on the matter.

Judging the way the councilor presented his arguments in the press statement, the solon said “it is either he has not read it or he does not understand the provisions”.

“We hope that Zamboanga is not included in the Bangsamoro territory but we have to analyze it well, decipher it so we can seek clarifications and make our positions on the matter.

Even Bangsamoro Transition Commission head Mohaguer Igbal in a public forum in Zamboanga last February 12 said the FAB is “silent” on whether or not Zamboanga’s waters are included in the new entity’s waters.   “Since the framework is silent on it, I don’t want to speak about it. I am silent to this and please don’t push me to say anything that is silent on that framework,” he later told a national reporter.

Lobregat concluded: “Kilaya sila abla silent cay talla mismo na framework agreement puede encontra el definition del territory”. — Rey Carbonel