Senators laud bicam approval of BBL

MANILA – Several senators on Thursday lauded the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as they expressed their collective hope that the landmark measure would at last bring peace and stability in Mindanao.

Senator Joel Villanueva said Congress has finally approved a measure that everybody hoped will bring peace and promote development in the Bangsamoro region.

“We hope that this can be the start of a peaceful and progressive future for the Bangsamoro, the people of Mindanao and the Philippines as a whole. We sincerely hope that the passage of this measure will usher a new era of collective prosperity and harmony for our brothers and sisters in Mindanao and the Filipino people,” Villanueva said.

Meanwhile, Senator Sonny Angara hailed the BBL as an unprecedented step towards fulfilling everyone’s aspiration to bring peace and development in the Bangsamoro region.

“Umaasa tayo na sa sandaling mapagtibay ang panukalang ito ay masasaksihan na natin at mararamdaman na ng mga kababayan natin sa Mindanao ang tunay na kapayapaan at pag-unlad sa kanilang rehiyon na ilang dekada nang binabalot ng sigalot,” Angara said.

(We are hoping that once this measure is enacted into law, we, and our countrymen in Mindanao, will witness and experience true peace and development in their region that has been beset by decades of conflict.)

Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said passing the BBL is a big step towards peace and ending poverty in Mindanao.

He urged all Filipinos to unite to ensure that all families in the Bangsamoro region would benefit from the law’s passage.

“Bantayan natin na maabot ng makasaysayang repormang ito ang mga matatayog na hangarin na kapayapaan at kaunlaran para sa mga kapatid nating Bangsamoro,” Aquino said.

(Let us remain vigilant that this historical reform reaches the ultimate goals of peace and development for our Bangsamoro brothers.)

On the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said while he lauds the landmark BBL as a tool to bringing peace and stability, he is concerned that the basic governance issues hounding soon to be replaced Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for decades will still remain due to the absence of an anti-dynasty provision.

“The BBL is pro-peace peace and stability but it lacks teeth to reform the prevailing politics and governance in ARMM that resulted in its provinces being one of the poorest in the country,” Drilon said.

Drilon, who has fought for the inclusion of an anti-political dynasty provision in the BBL before it was struck down in the bicam, said “the absence of this very powerful provision” could put to naught other measures that Congress has put in place to promote good governance in the Bangsamoro region.

“Unfortunately, the future of the Bangsamoro region will be in the hands of a very few families again, because of our failure to prevent political dynasty. Unless political dynasty is addressed, there are always threats of failure of governance in the ARMM,” Drilon said.

The BBL, which has been renamed the Organic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), is set to be ratified by the Senate and the House of Representaitives on July 23, the first day of the Third Regular Session of the 17th Congress.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign the measure into law before he delivers his State of the Nation Address on the same day. Jose Cielito Reganit/PNA –