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Bangsamoro Substitute Bill
« on: August 18, 2015, 07:55:13 AM »
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. yesterday told vice governors of Mindanao the substitute bill for the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law is not just inclusive but beneficial and fair to all: Moros and non-Moros alike.

Marcos, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, was one of the guest speakers in the Mindanao Vice Governors’ Conference held at the Limketkai Luxe Hotel in Cagayan De Oro City. He said he only did “the right thing to do’’ in crafting the substitute bill.

The conference was led by Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Jose Mari Pelaez, the vice president for Mindanao of the Vice Governors League of the Philippines.

“I believe we tried very hard to be fair to everyone concerned,” Marcos said when asked in the press briefing about allegations that his substitute bill, the Basic Law on Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (Senate Bill No. 2849), watered down the powers granted to the Bangsamoro government.

Explaining the reasons behind the changes, Marcos pointed out that many of the provisions of the bill treated the Bangsamoro government similarly to other local governments in the country, in order to draw them closer to mainstream Filipino society instead of treating them as a separate group.

This principle, according to Marcos, guided the substitute bill’s provisions on the authority of the Bangsamoro government over Lake Lanao, which some critics in social media have tagged as “anti-Moro”.

“What is different in our substitute bill is we just considered what was described either as inland waters or Bangsamoro waters to adhere to the definition of municipal waters. I don’t see why we need to change it,” Marcos said.

Under the Local Government Code, "municipal waters" includes streams, lakes, and tidal waters within the municipality that are not the subject of private ownership and are not within national parks, public forests, timber lands, forest reserves or fishery reserves.

Marcos noted that SB 2894 even extended the boundary for marine waters from 15 kilometers up to 22.224 kilometers (12 nautical miles) from the low-water mark of the coasts that are part of the Bangsamoro geographical area.

However, he said SB 2894 ensured that the power plants generating electricity from the waters of Lake Lanao, as well as the transmission facilities connected to the national grid, remained under the supervision of the National Power Corporation.

“Lake Lanao is critical as it supplies 60 percent of all the power in Mindanao. We all know that we are in crisis when it comes to power generation in Mindanao,” Marcos said. Rotating brownouts lasting from four to eight hours frequently occurs in many areas in Mindanao.

During the Senate hearings on the bill, the Mindanao Development Authority took the position that Lake Lanao should be excluded from the Bangsamoro territory, and should be maintained under the exclusive control of the national government for the communal use and benefit of the entire Mindanao.

Marcos said that while he tried his best to correct the flaws of the draft BBL in the substitute bill, it could be further improved with additional inputs from his fellow senators during the period of amendment and in the bicameral conference committee, after both Houses of Congress have passed their own version of the measure.

Other than the Bangsamoro, the two-day conference tackled other topics including the status of development programs and projects for Mindanao, the K to 12 basic education program, and the energy situation in Mindanao.

Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat was also one of the guest speakers at the conference, attended by 15 vice governors from Mindanao and one delegate from Aurora province, as well as several members of provincial boards.

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Re: Bangsamoro Substitute Bill
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 04:27:07 PM »

a respected columnist's take on this---

Pensées

By which reckoning?

By Fr. Ranhilio Aquino | Aug. 17, 2015

Naysayers shrugged it off as an empty boast. Bongbong Marcos promised a new version of an organic law for Bangsamoro. The Deles-Ferrer tandem unctuously pronounced it non-doable, and Iqbal snorted at it as unacceptable.   But Marcos delivered on his promise, and now, there is, before the Senate, endorsed for plenary debate by a clear majority of his peers, a draft of the charter for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: Bangsamoro Substitute Bill
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2015, 04:27:42 PM »

I have read it in full. I have conversed with Senator Marcos on some of its points. I would have written some provisions otherwise, but he is the senator, not me.   On the whole, it is a highly commendable piece of draft legislation.   It is not the ultimate word on the matter; in an age that guides itself by the precepts of deconstruction, there is no ultimate word! And so, those who are disappointed because they had thought that BBL was going to offer the final word are apparently trapped in a time-warp of last words and definitive narratives! Fortunately, the earth has completed several revolutions around the sun since!

Critics are wont to dismiss the Marcos Draft because, they claim, it results in an autonomous region with even less might than the ARMM under its strengthened charter. The reckoning is wrong, I respectfully though tentatively (with a reverential bow to Derrida) submit.   I have not indulged in comparisons of the sort: the stronger autonomous region, the stronger regional executive, because I think that is not the point. At least, from what I understand Mr. Marcos saying, that was not at the top of his table of priorities.

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Re: Bangsamoro Substitute Bill
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 04:28:37 PM »

Marcos wanted to achieve different things, not always easy to reconcile with each other. He wanted a meaningful response to MILF’s plaints. But he did not want a solution that would originate from the MILF faction, only to be spurned by those who refuse to share the same bed with Iqbal and the people he speaks for.   The issue of Muslim Mindanao is more than an MILF issue.   In fact, it was not originally an MILF issue.   He also wanted to steer clear of the importuning of Nur Misuari and his MNLF group.   Then there were the legitimate claims of the sultanates—themselves a fractious lot. Who, for example, is the Sultan of Sulu?   As if the considerations were not complicated enough, the IPs and non-Muslim communities reminded the Legislature that they too had legitimate claims.   And because no solution is clever enough unless it is in accord with the Constitution, Bongbong—who undoubtedly has as incisive an intellect as his father, but lacks the latter’s legal education (his wife, Liza, is a top-notch lawyer with a law office of her own!)—had to wrestle with the opinions of the critics of the BBL, as well as the decision of the Supreme Court in the Province of North Cotabato (MOA-AD) cases! By any account, that was a whole tangled web within which to craft a law.

So, why should the reckoning consist in comparing the powers it grants the autonomous region as against earlier laws? ARMM was MNLF-triggered.   The strengthened ARMM was MILF-goaded. The BBL was MILF authored and owned.   Marcos had to craft a “tertia via” than demanded so much more than Aristotle’s proverbial “middle way”. Thus read, as an attempt to wend a legal path through the convoluted paths of claim, counter-claim and cross-claim, should we not be unanimous, rather, in thanking Bongbong Marcos for having offered us a decent alternative, without having to deceive ourselves into taking it as the final word? I am sure, not even he does!

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