Senators are one in saying that the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will usher better economic opportunities and will end the decades-old armed conflict.
“We all want peace. We want to stop the gun shootings, bombings and achieve normalcy,” Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said during the seventh hearing on proposed bill inside Notre Dame College of Jolo on Thursday, February 8, 2018.
Noting that the BBL is a “game changer”, Zubiri, who is the chairman of the subcommittee on BBL, said that 100 percent of the senators support the passage of the BBL.
He said they target to pass the BBL by the end of March, adding that the proposed law is the long-term political solution to address the problem in Mindanao, which is compliant to all the peace agreements.
Zubiri noted that the Senate is very much open for suggestions to further enhance the bill before its enactment.
“We want to hear all the sectors on the proposed BBL,” he said.
Senator Sonny Angara emphasized the BBL has a bipartisan support in the Senate.
“We are here united in one voice — minority and majority — one heart and one mind for the BBL,” he said.
By passing the BBL, Angara said, “We want the Bangsamoro people to write their own history.
“Expect our full support to achieve peace and prosperity to the Bangsamoro people,” he committed.
Senator JV Ejercito noted that “We have tried the military solution but this time we want to take the path of peace.”
“We all want peace. For the past years may kaguluhan sa Mindanao. It is the land of promise. Hindi na-achieve ang full potential ng Mindanao dahil sa gulo,” he said, but when “Muslims and Christians will work together, there is peace and prosperity.”
For his part, Senator Win Gatchalian described the BBL as the opportunity for the Bangsamoro people to be “the driver of your own destiny.”
“This is our dream. And we are in solidarity to your call to be the driver of your destiny,” he said, adding that the BBL “will pave the way for a strong and peaceful nation.”
Gatchalian also challenged the local government officials to give their full “cooperation to this opportunity para hindi ito masayang.”
Zubiri said “there’s no other opportune time (to pass the BBL), but today because we have a President and legislative heads who are all from Mindanao.”
“We have been longing to have peace in Mindanao and with the passing of this measure, Mindanao will be the land of fulfilled (promise),” he said.
Senator Riza Hontiveros of the minority group, said the legislative process of passing the BBL is part of the move in finding political solution to address the problem in Mindanao.
“The Bangsamoro people should find a way. And all of us, too, should find a way,” she said.
Governor Abdusakur Tan II, said they saw no “disadvantages” in the BBL when it was explained to him by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza and Bangsamoro Transition Commissioner Jose Lorena.
“They explained to us the BBL … Naliwanagan kame,” he said.
The main point of conducting a hearing in the proposed territories is to enhance the BBL, Dureza said.
“Ang sadya namin ngayon ay para makinig kung ano yung gustong idagdag, tanggalin para i-enhance ang BBL,” he said.
According to him, President Roa Duterte’s marching order is for the BBL to be inclusive.
The President has earlier expanded the members of the BTC from 15 to 21 to have a representation from all sectors that were not included during the previous BTC.
The BBL is the legal document to operationalize the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which the government signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.