PHNO HEADLINE NEWS
THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)
IN THE NAME OF PEACE: PRIVILEGED
SPEECH OF SENATOR BONGBONG MARCOS ON THE BBL-SENATE BILL NO 2408
JUNE 3 ---AT THE SENATE, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2015 ---Senator
Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on
Local Government, today said he could not support the draft
Bangsamoro Basic Law as its flaws would only lead to more bloodshed,
instead of achieving its goal of bringing lasting peace, in
Mindanao. “Mr. President, I repeat: I am for peace. I share our
people’s thirst for peace. Pero napakarami pong mga masamang
probisyon na napapaloob sa BBL at kung tatanggalin ko pong isa-isa,
baka maski kahit anong retoke ang gawin, hindi makayang maibalik sa
dating anyo ang BBL,” Marcos said in a privilege speech. CONTINUE
READING.....FULL TRANSCRIPT FROM THE
Institute for Autonomy and Government, University of Notre Dame,
BBL group slammed Marcos
for ‘megalomania’ in overhauling BBL
[Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) chief negotiator MohagherIqbal told GMA News Online in
a text message, "Please tell him to adopt the original BBL, para
wala nang mapagod." ]
JUNE 11 ---FACEBOOK PHOTO Sen.
Bongbong Marcos’ declaration to replace the Bangsamoro Basic Law
with his own version smacked of megalomania reminiscent of his
father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, a coalition of BBL
supporters said on Thursday. “The audacity by which Senator Marcos
has declared that he will file his own bill on the Bangsamoro
clearly manifests the depths of megalomania he is capable of and the
utter disregard he has for all government institutions and for the
peace process,” the Bangsamoro para sa Bayan, para sa Lahat said in
a statement. Marcos, chair of the Senate committee on local
government, earlier said he had prepared a substitute bill based on
what he learned from the committee hearings. In a privilege speech
last week, he said he could not support the BBL in its present form
as it would only “lead us to perdition.” Shiek bin Laden, member of
the BBL coalition and convener of Anti-Bugok (Anti-Bungangero at
Utak Pulburang Pulitiko), said on Thursday’s press briefing in
Quezon City, “We shouldn’t be careless in carrying out a new plan
because this BBL is a product of 17 years of negotiations between
the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.”
Bongbong Marcos should instead open up on the Jabidah massacre, “a
turning point in what we call the Bangsamoro history which widened
the rift between Filipino Christians and Muslims,” Max de Mesa of
the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates said. More than 20
Muslim youths recruited to infiltrate Sabah were summarily executed
on Corregidor Island in 1968 during former President Marcos’ term,
according to a lone survivor. READ MORE...
ALSO On BBL: MILF impatient, House desperate, Senate panel firm
JUNE 9 ---MARCOS It is now not only President Aquino and his allies in the
Senate who are breathing down the neck of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong”
Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, but
also the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that said time is
running out for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and is thus
demanding that the Marcos panel “fast-track” its report on the BBL
to allow the passage of the law. The
MILF, in a statement over its website, stressed that all those being
consulted by Marcos during the Senate hearings were “virtually”
already reached by the MILF when it crafted the BBL. The MILF
dismissed the perception that the BBL is being rushed by the MILF
and the Aquino government, citing the proposed law has been
submitted to Congress nine months ago. “It is on this basis that we
appeal to you, Mr. Senator, to fast-track your process and come out
with your committee report. You may have all the best intentions,
because you want a good BBL, but time is running out,” the MILF
stated. Marcos, however, said an option he is considering in
crafting a substitute bill to the Palace draft of the BBL is to
simply amend the organic act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM).Earlier, Marcos said in a privilege speech that he
could not support the draft BBL as its flaws could only lead the
country to perdition. Marcos said he would prepare a substitute bill
that addresses the concern not only of the MILF but also those of
the other major stakeholders in the areas to be covered by the
proposed Bangsamoro region. “I think there are systemic weaknesses
in the ARMM system. So what do we do? We fix it. READ MORE...
Aquino says, 'President has power to expand Bangsamoro
territory, all it takes is an Executive Order'
JUNE 11 ---Benigno Aquino III The President has
the power to expand the proposed Bangsamoro entity in Mindanao even
without the opt-in close provided for in the draft Bangsamoro Basic
Law now pending in Congress. President Benigno Aquino III said all
it takes is an executive order to transfer and reorganize the
country’s provinces and regions. “Iyong opt-in, in particular, para
tayong may mechanisms in place na at some point in time, yung isang
probinsya na gustong sumama sa isang particularly region, currently,
all it takes is an executive order,” Aquino told reporters after
inspecting infrastructure projects here. “It's not a difficult
process.... It's not an impossibility,” he added. READ MORE...
ALSO: MILF set to
disarm 145 fighters, give up high-powered weapons
JUNE 11 ---LEST WE FORGET: DAILY MAIL's HEADLINE FROM
REUTERS LAST JANUARY 29, 2015 'THE FALLEN 44" -MANILA: Work to set
up an autonomous Muslim region in the Philippines to end a 45-year
insurgency has been suspended and may be abandoned altogether
because of a clash in which more than 50 people were killed and
shattered a 3-year ceasefire. The Muslim insurgency has killed 120,000
people, displaced 2 million and stunted growth in the poor but
June 12, 2015, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will begin the
first phase of decommissioning its fighters on June 16, the chief
negotiators of both the Philippine government and the rebel group
said on Thursday. In a joint press conference, government peace
panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer (photo) confirmed that
decommissioning, or rendering MILF fighting units “beyond use” and
returning their fighters to civilian life, will begin on June 16.
The “gradual decommissioning” is contained in the Annex on
Normalization signed by the MILF and the government in January 2014.
“Phase 1 of the process will begin with the ceremonial turnover of
55 high-powered firearms and 20 crew-served weapons, and
decommissioning of 145 members of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic
Armed Forces,” she said. The weapons will be turned over to the
Independent Decommissioning Body, while the decommissioned
combatants will be registered, their identities verified after which
they will be provided immediate cash assistance amounting to P25,000
and PhilHealth insurance cards. President Benigno S, Aquino 3rd is
expected to witness the symbolic turnover of firearms in Maguindanao.
MILF open to enhanced BBL; Iqbal, however,
disagrees with Bongbong’s plan to amend ARMM Law instead
[But Marcos said all these worries and criticisms the
MILF and Malacañang have expressed are premature because there is no
substitute bill to speak of as of this time. Marcos said “they should be patient and wait for the
version that we will finally craft".]
JUNE 12 ---BBL OR NOTHING — Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chief Peace
Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal objects to a mere amendment to Republic
Act No. 9054, the Organic Law of the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM), instead of passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law during
the media forum at the Tycoon Malate Manila yesterday as Lolly
Rivera-Acosta (left) and moderator Joel Palacios look on.
(Russell Palma) Mohagher Iqbal
(photo), chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
peace panel, yesterday said the secessionist group is open to moves
of Congress to enhance or improve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law
(BBL). However, he said he disagrees with the plan of Senator
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to just amend Republic Act No. 9054,
the Organic Law of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),
instead of pushing the proposed BBL. “The position of the MILF is
very clear. Knowing fully well the mandate of Congress… its plenary
powers, we welcome enhancement and improvement. We leave to Congress
how to do that,” said Iqbal. Iqbal said the MILF leadership will
decide whether to accept or reject the BBL after its enactment, but
right now the MILF is leaving no stone unturned for its passage. “We
have extensive engagements with legislators, so we cannot blame
ourselves later on.” “Let Senator Bongbong Marcos do what makes him
happy,” Iqbal stressed during the Tycoon News Forum in Malate,
see rise of Polloc Port as Bangsamoro shipping hub
JUNE 12 ---A foreign vessel carrying corn imported from Indonesia by a local
cornstarch manufacturer is berthed at the Polloc Port in Maguindanao.
John Unson PARANG,
Maguindanao - Officials are rushing to refurbish the Polloc Port in
Parang, Maguindanao in anticipation of expansion in shipping
activities after the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM) with a new Bangsamoro political entity. The Polloc
Port southwest of Maguindanao is the ARMM’s largest seaport, a major
export-import transshipment point for consumer goods, farm products
and petroleum supply from abroad. Records obtained from the office
of port manager Mimbalawag Mangutara Jr. indicated that despite the
security problems that rocked isolated areas in Central Mindanao in
2013 and 2014, the facility generated P24.4 million worth of
revenues during the period. The port earned P11 million in 2014,
about 18 percent higher than its P9.4 million income in 2013.
Officials have just facilitated the construction of the port’s
perimeter fence encircling a 119-hectare territory and are now
rehabilitating its transit shed, power facility and water system.
The port’s mooring bollards and rubber fenders along its berthing
sites had been replaced with new ones too. Mangutara said all of
their port rehabilitation activities are parallel with the
socio-economic thrusts of incumbent ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman. Hataman
is a staunch supporter of President Benigno Aquino III’s diplomatic
dealings with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. READ MORE...
READ FULL MEDIA
IN THE NAME OF PEACE: PRIVILEGED SPEECH OF SENATOR FERDINAND R. MARCOS
JUNE 15, 2015 (Institute
for Autonomy and Government) Monday, June 3, 2015 -
Privilege speech of Sen. Bongbong Marcos on the Bangsamoro Basic Law Published on Wednesday, 03 June
In the name of peace
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, good afternoon.
I rise today to speak on a matter of profound importance
to the national interest.
I stand before you in the name of peace. Like our Muslim
and Christian brothers, our Lumads and our indigenous people, I too, long
for peace — an equitable, enduring peace. Peace with justice. Peace with
honor. Peace for all.
I have walked the proverbial extra mile in search of
peace; peace in Mindanao; peace in the land.
When Senate Bill No. 2408 was filed and subsequently
referred to my Committee in September last year, we endeavored to scrutinize
the proposal by conducting several hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We
sought the opinions, sentiments, concerns and propositions of the different
sectors of society.
Discussions of the measure at the grassroots level
triggered passionate debates and scholarly discourses between national and
local officials, members of the academe, concerned sectors and other
stakeholders. We also sought the opinions of legal experts who shared their
scholarly analyses on the constitutionality of several provisions of the
In all, our committees have conducted fourteen (14) public
hearings: nine (9) in the Senate; and five (5) in the affected areas of
Cotabato City (October 8), Marawi City (October 23), Tawi-tawi (November
11), Sulu (May 13), and Zamboanga City (May 14).
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said he is
working overtime to finish consultation with major stakeholders on the
proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, not to delay its passage but to address its
flaws and enable it to withstand any legal challenges.
FROM BONGBONG MARCOS WEBSITE
Eight months have passed since the time the bill was filed
in September last year. This morning, we just conducted the 14th hearing on
The Bangsamoro Basic Law is supposed to be an instrument
of peace. I share in its objective. But for peace to be achieved, the BBL
must be inclusive. All the stakeholders must be consulted, their views
heard, their concerns addressed. More importantly, it must conform to the
letters and spirit of the law of the land. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Unfortunately, the BBL in its present form and substance
will not bring us any closer to peace.
Instead, it will lead us to perdition. Armed conflict will
ensue. Blood will be shed. And when blood is shed, it will not distinguish
between right and wrong; between young and old, neither between men and
women, nor soldiers or rebels, combatants and civilians, rich, poor,
Muslims, Christians. Nobody wins. Everybody loses.
After a series of meetings with the stakeholders, it
became obvious to me that no substantive consultations had been held with
them prior to or during negotiations.
The Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace
Process (OPAPP) totally ignored the major stakeholders. The Sultanate of
Sulu, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Lumads, the Indigenous
people, the Christians, the Local Government Units and businesses were
abandoned, removed from the negotiating process.
And so, Mr. President, I will not invite your boredom by
repeating all those contentious findings which have found their way to the
I would like, instead, to express some of my reservations
with regard to the proposed BBL so as to give the Filipino people an idea of
how complicated or maybe even convoluted it is and why this Committee has
deep reservations on the wisdom of the BBL.
ISSUE ON CONSTITUTIONALITY
Soon after the commencement of the committee hearings,
speculations on the constitutionality of the BBL began to surface. These
speculations ripened into substantial findings which first had to be
addressed before a comprehensive understanding of the BBL was to be had.
Thus, we were constrained to seek the opinion of the
Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revisions of Codes, chaired by
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
As stated in the closely argued and erudite Committee
Report of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who we all acknowledge is a
great legal luminary of the Senate, which was transmitted to the Committee
on Local Government on 26 May 2015, the following findings were made:
It is the Committee’s understanding that the establishment
of the proposed BBL ought to be within the constitutional framework in order
to establish an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao.
That is to say, the proposed BBL should and could only
create a territorial and political subdivision of the Republic of the
Philippines, which is our sovereign state. However autonomous it may be, its
autonomy does not, and cannot, make it higher than, or co-equal with, the
Section 15, Article X of the 1987 Constitution states:
“There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim
Mindanao x x x within the framework of this Constitution and the national
sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the
The BBL, however, aspires to create a part-sovereign state
that enjoys sovereignty within the Bangsamoro territory and within the
territory of the State. It seeks to create what our Supreme Court has called
an imperium et imperio, which is a “state within a state”. This
notion has been squarely rejected by our Supreme Court time and again.
Stated otherwise, the BBL and what it aspires to create is
not within the framework of the Constitution because the powers enjoyed by
the Bangsamoro government alone are violative of several provisions of the
First, it provides for three (3) categories of
(i) a limited number reserved to central or national
(ii) an extensive number of exclusive powers that may only
be enjoyed by the Bangsamoro Government; and...
(iii) concurrent powers that may be shared by both central
government and Bangsamoro government within the Bangsomoro territory.
Second, the granting of these exclusive powers to
the Bangsamoro government implies that the central government recognizes
another, and more supreme, authority within the State — an anomaly which is
not authorized by the Constitution.
Several other provisions run counter to our Constitution:
1. BBL provides for a parliamentary form of
government within a presidential form of government. There is no
constitutional basis for this effort to change the form of government.
The proposed BBL provides for a parliamentary form of
government for the Bangsamoro. It vests the powers of government in a
Parliament headed by a Chief Minister, who shall concurrently head the
executive department called the “Cabinet”.
The members of the Parliament are to be elected by the
constituents of the Bangsamoro, but it is the members of the Parliament
themselves who shall elect the Chief Minister, who shall, in turn, appoint
his Deputy Minister and a majority of the members of the Cabinet.
2. BBL seeks to establish limitations to the powers
of Congress. Congress will be entitled to reserved powers, but the
Bangsamoro would be excluded from the laws passed by Congress with respect
to autonomous regions. The Bangsamoro Parliament would become not
subordinate, but equal to, our Congress.
The BBL contains the categories of powers contractually
stipulated upon between the MILF and the OPAPP.
“The Philippines is a democratic and republican State.
Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from
them.” Therefore, there is no doubt that the Philippine government has all
the powers of sovereignty, except only those given to autonomous regions in
In contrast, under the BBL, the Bangsamoro
government may enact pieces of legislation on the exploration, development
and utilization of mines and minerals in its territory, draft policies on
mining and other extractive industries and recommend to the President
applications for financial and technical assistance agreements.
These are measures that fall exclusively within the power
of Congress to legislate under the Constitution.
By giving the Bangsamoro government the power to legislate
on these subjects, the BBL equates the Bangsamoro government with Congress.
3. Exclusive powers given to the Bangsamoro will
inevitably reduce or diminish the comprehensive sovereign authority of the
Republic over the so-called Bangsamoro territory and the population thereof.
What is given to the Bangsamoro Government is necessarily torn away from the
Government of the Republic.
Section 3, Article V of the BBL enumerates no less than
fifty-eight (58) powers that are exclusively given to the Bangsamoro
I must agree with the observation of Dean Merlin Magallona
of UP Law that since the exclusivity of these powers necessarily implies
that these are to be exercised to the exclusion of the national government
(or the central government as it referred to in the BBL), the only governing
authority will be the Bangsamoro government.
If that is the case, how then will the Bangsamoro
government be able to implement and enforce some of those exclusive powers?
To cite some examples:
▪The creation of sources of
revenue, which necessarily include the power to tax all qualified persons
within the territory.
------Would a revenue-sharing scheme apply to the
Bangsamoro government as in all other local government units under our Local
------Or would this central government continue to give
internal revenue allotments without receiving a just share of the revenues
received from within the Bangsamoro territory?
▪Labor, employment and
-----During our previous hearings, various stakeholders
expressed concerns on how the Bangsamoro legislation could be reconciled
with a person’s right to security of tenure or even their constitutional
right against non impairment of contracts?
-----In the exercise of its right to establish or create
institutions, policies and laws for the general welfare of the people within
the Bangsamoro territory, the Bangsamoro government can create its own
-----In the exercise of this right, there can be no
recognition of the central government’s authority over said police force,
unlike the central government’s PNP which is under the supervision and
control of the DILG and the President.
-----What will prevent the Bangsamoro police from turning
into turning someone’s private army?
Indeed, these exclusive powers go beyond anything ever
granted by the Constitution or any other piece of legislation to any local
government unit or autonomous region.
4. BBL refers to the autonomous region as a
“territory” and as the “ancestral homeland”.
BBL has no power to create the “Bangsamoro territory”
which proceeds from the view that although Bangsamoro is under Philippine
jurisdiction, it can be molded into a separate territory of the Philippines.
Article 1, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution provides the
following: “[T]he national territory comprises the Philippine
archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other
territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction…”
The phrase “other territories” refers to the other territories over which
the Philippines has claim, for instance, Sabah.
It must be pointed out that the autonomous region in
Muslim Mindanao under the Constitution is part of the Philippines’
territory. To call the region, including the present ARMM, “Bangsamoro
Territory” is to imply that it is a separate part of the Philippines, which
is not the case.
The reality is that the Republic of the Philippines
recognizes that certain areas are occupied by ethnic groups, for which
reason the State, under the Constitution, allows the creation of
In a 2008 case, the Supreme Court held that the concept of
association is not recognized under the present Constitution. The Court
“x x x The Constitution, however, does not contemplate any
state in this jurisdiction other than the Philippine State, much less does
it provide for a transitory status that aims to prepare any part of
Philippine territory for independence.”
Furthermore, and because of the way our national territory
is defined, and as an element of its national sovereignty, the 1987
Constitution provides that “[a]ll lands of public domain, waters,
minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential
energy, fisheries, forests, or timber, wildlife, flora and other natural
resources are owned by the State.”
Accordingly, “[t]he exploration, development and
utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and
supervision of the State.”
Despite this clear mandate under the Constitution, inland
waters, Bangsamoro waters, ancestral domain and natural resources, protected
areas, fishery, marine and aquatic resources, are all within the extensive
exclusive power of the Bangsamoro government.
This extraordinary power over natural resources found
within the Bangsamoro territory and granted to the Bangsamoro government
runs counter to the very definition of the national territory and the
State’s ownership and control over all natural resources found within the
OTHER SUBSTANTIAL ISSUES & QUESTIONS OF POLICY
At hindi natatapos ang debate ukol sa BBL sa mga
constitutional questions na ito. (And there will be no end debating
constitutional issues of this BBL)
Once the issue of modality of making the BBL legally
enforceable is settled, deliberations shall ultimately center on the
specific provisions of the BBL. More importantly, discussion shall ascend to
a debate on the higher questions of national policy.
Aside from those earlier mentioned, other controversial
points and serious concerns have been raised in the course of our hearings,
such as —
■The rather “flexible” Bangsamoro territory, owing to the
vague and loose “opt-in” and “inclusion” mechanisms;
■The possible conflicting rights and claims over
“exclusive” and “internal” bodies of waters, like the Sulu Sea and Lake Lanao;
■Co-equal rights of indigenous peoples, as well as of the
Royal houses and Sultanates living within the Bangsamoro territory;
■The business and economic implications not just on the Bangsamoro territory, but on adjacent LGUs and on the wider Mindanao
■Separate taxing authority, which can be susceptible to
■Operational control over the Bangsamoro police;
■Impact on our other LGUs in light of our evolving policy
on devolution of powers to local governments;
■Energy implications not only in the Bangsamoro territory,
but in the whole of Mindanao, which is already beleaguered by power
■Separate Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit,
Civil Service Commission;
■Implications on previous relevant peace agreements and
documents that are binding upon our Government; and many more.
And in our attempt to create and install the Bangsamoro
government, we are of necessity faced with the proposal to repeal Congress’
previous enactments: Republic Act Nos. 9054 and 6734, or our previous laws
creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
What is the wisdom behind “repealing” these important laws
under the BBL, as opposed to just “improving” on them?
Are we to just accept the claim that the ARMM was but a
“failed experiment”, as though Congress’ previous efforts had all been for
As an optimist and a believer in our capacity as a nation,
it could be said that the ARMM is an experiment that is on the difficult but
promising path of discovering the perfect conclusion and the solution to the
And in the event that we do decide to abolish the ARMM,
how do we protect the interests and welfare of its 36,000 civil servants who
will be without work after the ARMM is rendered functus officio?
We cannot keep on conducting isolated experiments on the
development of our people all the time.
Rather, we should improve on our previous efforts by
applying the wisdom gained from our experiences and shortcomings.
All these issues must be carefully studied and duly
presented to our people, not only reasonably prior to enacting the BBL, but
more importantly, prior to subjecting our people to the routine and
perfunctory process of a plebiscite.
As responsible and conscientious legislators, we are bound
by constitutional and moral duty to carefully deliberate on the wisdom of
the provisions of the BBL—all one hundred nineteen (119) of them—with a view
to laying down a clear and effective legislative policy for our autonomous
regions, in accordance with our Constitution.
Our success in this particular Herculean task could lay
the basis for the development of our local government system, as well as a
blueprint for our other autonomous region under the Constitution: the
WHY RUSH IT?
Given the complexities on the constitutionality of the
BBL—not to mention the other debatable parts of the proposed law, I am at a
loss as to why we are being pressured to sign off on this important piece of
Binigyan di-umano kami ng deadline ng Palasyo.
Kailangan daw naming maipasa ang BBL sa aking Komite bago mag-June 11.
(We at the Senate, were allegedly given a deadline by Malacañang
requiring us to pass this BBL under my Committee before June 11)
In light of the grant of extensive powers being given to
the Bangsamoro government as well as the plethora of alarming issues
attendant to the proposed BBL, how can our electorates possibly come to
terms with this complex piece of legislation which will obviously have
serious implications on our lives, our economy and on the future of our
country, if arbitrary deadlines are continuously being imposed?
According to Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez,
Aquino has vowed to certify the Bangsamoro bill as urgent after the House ad
hoc committee. The chairman of the House panel deliberating on the
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has assured the measure will be passed by both
chambers of Congress before President Benigno Aquino III gives his sixth and
final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27 SONA
GMANEWS APRIL 2015
Lord Chesterfield once said, “If someone is in a hurry,
it only shows that the thing being rushed is too big for him.”
Hindi po tayo magpadadala sa emosyon at sa pulitika.
Hindi ako makapapayag na ma-railroad ang BBL sa aking Komite.(We will not be
carried away by emotions and by politics. I will not allow myself to have
this BBL be railroaded, in this Committee) It is complex enough as
it is. Why rush it?
I will not be rushed. I will see to it that any peace
agreement we fashion with the MILF will be inclusive.
It should protect the integrity of our country. I will
make sure that Mindanao or any part of our Republic will not secede from us.
I will stand my ground so that our country is not
dismembered. I will do whatever it takes to help achieve an enduring and
equitable peace in Mindanao.
Hindi ako tumatakbo sa responsibilidad o sa anumang
problema. Hinaharap ko ang hamon ng panahon. (I do not run away from
responsibility or from any kind of problem. I face the challenges of times)
Bilang isang halal ng bayan, mayroon akong
pananagutan sa taong bayan.(As an elected official of the government I
value my obligations to my people who elected me)
I cannot and will not fail the people who are looking at
us for deliverance. I will do my duty as a Senator. I will do the right
Mr. President, I repeat: I am for peace. I share our
people’s thirst for peace. Pero napakarami pong mga kumplikado at
kontrobersyal na probisyon na napapaloob sa BBL at kung tatanggalin pong
isa-isa, baka maski kahit ano pang retoke ang gawin, hindi na makakaya pang
maibalik sa orihinal na anyo ang BBL. (But there are so many complicated
and controversial provisions in this BBL that if we will remove them
one-by-one, any amount of retouching will not give meaning to the original
Kinausap ko ang lahat ng stakeholders. Iisa ang
kanilang hatol: hindi ito magbibigay ng kapayapaan. (I have spoken,
face-to-face, with the stakeholders, they all have one judgment in common:
this BBL draft will not give peace to our country)
Mr. President, I CANNOT SUPPORT THE BBL IN ITS PRESENT
FORM. May inihahanda akong kapalit nito na makabubuti sa lahat. (We
will attempt to create a substitute that will be for the good of all)
Manalangin tayo para sa linaw ng kaisipan at tapang ng
kalooban. (Let us pray for a clean and clear mind
and courage of spirit)
Huwag tayong matakot gawin ang tama para sa Kapayapaan
at pagkakaisa ng bayan. (Let us not be afraid to
do what is right for Peace and unity of our people as a whole)
THE "FALLEN 44"
I cannot end without paying tribute to our “Fallen 44” and
those before them, who had offered their lives at the altar of service, of
duty. I salute you for your bravery and patriotism. Your heroism will not be
forgotten. You will remain in the collective memory of a grateful people.
Your sacrifices will continue to inspire us.
I shall not stop until you and your loved ones are given
the justice that you all richly deserve. I will continue the search for
peace even if it means traveling that dark, treacherous road alone. By doing
that, I, in my own small way, would have helped demonstrate that your
supreme sacrifice did not go to waste and that you have not died in vain.
May the good Lord help us all and may He save us from the
evil that men bring upon themselves.
Maraming salamat po.
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Bongbong Marcos slammed for ‘megalomania’ in
overhauling BBL By: Erika Sauler @erikasauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer 06:27 PM June 11th, 2015
FROM GMA NEWS JUNE 10, 2015---By
ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO,GMA News June 10, 2015 12:20pm
to Bongbong, adopt original BBL: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal on Wednesday maintained that Congress should
pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in its original form following
statements from Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. that he is crafting an
alternative version. In response to Marcos' invitation to the MILF to help
him craft a substitute BBL, Iqbal told GMA News Online in a text message,
"Please tell him to adopt the original BBL, para wala nang mapagod." Marcos
made the call on Tuesday, saying the BBL — the product of the peace
agreement between the government and the MILF — is full of flaws as a result
of failure to consult other stakeholders. The MILF has repeatedly said they
hope that Congress will not water down the proposed law.
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ declaration to
replace the Bangsamoro Basic Law with his own version smacked of megalomania
reminiscent of his father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, a coalition
of BBL supporters said on Thursday.
“The audacity by which Senator Marcos has declared that he
will file his own bill on the Bangsamoro clearly manifests the depths of
megalomania he is capable of and the utter disregard he has for all
government institutions and for the peace process,” the Bangsamoro para sa
Bayan, para sa Lahat said in a statement.
Marcos, chair of the Senate committee on local government,
earlier said he had prepared a substitute bill based on what he learned from
the committee hearings. In a privilege speech last week, he said he could
not support the BBL in its present form as it would only “lead us to
Shiek bin Laden, member of the BBL coalition and convener
of Anti-Bugok (Anti-Bungangero at Utak Pulburang Pulitiko), said on
Thursday’s press briefing in Quezon City, “We shouldn’t be careless in
carrying out a new plan because this BBL is a product of 17 years of
negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.”
Bongbong Marcos should instead open up on the Jabidah
massacre, “a turning point in what we call the Bangsamoro history which
widened the rift between Filipino Christians and Muslims,” Max de Mesa of
the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates said.
More than 20 Muslim youths recruited to infiltrate Sabah
were summarily executed on Corregidor Island in 1968 during former President
Marcos’ term, according to a lone survivor.
The massacre has sparked the Moro separatist movement with Nur Misuari
establishing the Moro National Liberation Front. But even after the downfall
of Marcos in 1986 and after MNLF signed a Final Peace Agreement with the
Ramos government in 1996, no effort was done to bring the perpetrators of
the massacre to court and the bar of justice. But the story of the massacre
inflames Mindanao Muslims.
“Saying he will make his own version is a very big insult
to the victims of his father,” Mary Ann Arnado of Mindanao Peoples Caucus
“(Bongbong) said there was no rush to pass the BBL. How
could he say that when more than 100,000 people have died from the conflict
“Like his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos,
Bongbong is setting himself up as the protector of the Filipino people,
defender of peace, and champion of the Constitution while cleverly
disguising his Machiavelian manipulation of the situation to forward his own
self-serving political interest,” the BBL coalition said.
The coalition composed of some 30 groups was formed to
mobilize support for a BBL that is reflective of the Comprehensive Agreement
on the Bangsamoro, the framework peace agreement signed on March 27 last
The passage of the BBL was derailed by the January 25
clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, between Moro groups and the Special Action
Force, which left 44 policemen, 17 MILF members and five civilians dead.
On BBL: MILF impatient, House desperate, Senate panel firm
Written by Mario J. Mallari and Angie M. Rosales Tuesday, 09
June 2015 00:00
It is now not only President Aquino and his allies in the
Senate who are breathing down the neck of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos,
chairman of the Senate committee on local government, but also the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that said time is running out for the
proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and is thus demanding that the Marcos
panel “fast-track” its report on the BBL to allow the passage of the law.
The MILF, in a statement over its website, stressed that
all those being consulted by Marcos during the Senate hearings were
“virtually” already reached by the MILF when it crafted the BBL.
The MILF dismissed the perception that the BBL is being rushed by the MILF
and the Aquino government, citing the proposed law has been submitted to
Congress nine months ago.
“It is on this basis that we appeal to you, Mr. Senator, to fast-track your
process and come out with your committee report. You may have all the best
intentions, because you want a good BBL, but time is running out,” the MILF
Marcos, however, said an option he is considering in crafting a substitute
bill to the Palace draft of the BBL is to simply amend the organic act for
the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Earlier, Marcos said in a privilege speech that he could not support the
draft BBL as its flaws could only lead the country to perdition. Marcos said
he would prepare a substitute bill that addresses the concern not only of
the MILF but also those of the other major stakeholders in the areas to be
covered by the proposed Bangsamoro region.
“I think there are systemic weaknesses in the ARMM system. So what do we do?
We fix it.
There’s no need to throw out the baby with the bath water, as
they say. We look at the system, see where the failings are, the weaknesses
are, and fix those,” Marcos said.
“We have amended already the organic law for ARMM once.
That was a step in the right direction. So let’s make more steps in the
right direction,” he added.
Marcos said amending the ARMM law would address one of the constitutional
problems of creating a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao that some
legal experts said is not allowed.
“And so a solution around that will be to say this is merely an
amendment of the existing law. That dispenses with that argument questioning
the constitutionality of the law,” Marcos said.
Marcos said that after the last BBL hearing of his panel on June 9, he would
buckle down and start drafting the substitute bill when Congress adjourns
sine die on June 11.
Upon completion, Marcos said he would provide all the committee members a
copy so they can study his proposals even before the resumption of session.
“The BBL has been in Congress for nine months already and, therefore, it is
not true to say that the BBL is being rushed. The flipside is truer: The
passage of the BBL is getting snagged. This is the popular impression thus
far created,” the MILF complained.
At the same time, the MILF reiterated that war is not an option in case BBL
is not passed.
“On the contrary, the MILF consistently maintains that no matter what
happens to the BBL the pursuit of peace would remain the menu in settling
the armed conflict in Mindanao,” the MILF said.
“War is not an option to the MILF,” it added.
The MILF said that its abhorrence of war is the reason why it agreed to
negotiate peace with the government since 1997.
“Because more than anybody else, we — and those soldiers who served in the
battlefields in Mindanao — know exactly what war really is,” the MILF said.
“People who are outside of the war zone can only imagine the horrors and
devastations of war, but can never feel them. We did and do,” it added.
Senate President Franklin Drilon added the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
may have to be asked to move the deadline of the filing of certificates of
candidacies (CoCs) in Oct. to a later date to accommodate those that will be
running for the Bangsamoro autonomous government.
Drilon said the present set-up, where there exists an ARMM will prevail if
the proposed bill on the BBL will not be passed by Congress before the May
Existing laws call for a synchronized elections between the elections in the
national level as well as in the ARMM.
“If the BBL does not pass, then the structure is the same as it is today.
The elections will be synchronized in May of 2016 as that is the law today,”
“The filing of CoCs is in Oct., but the deadline is in October because of
the automation. This is a rule imposed as a deadline by the Comelec, not by
law, because they need enough time to prepare. So we have to consult the
Comelec as to when they can really move the time of the filing of the COCs.
“We would want that as right now, the law is synchronized elections,” he
If at all, the BBL will still be passed by the two Houses toward the end of
the present 16th Congress, it would be already a foregone conclusion that
the Bangsamoro government can only be established after the 2016 elections
or three years after.
“That would be the logical conclusion. That is why we appeal to the
reasonableness of everyone, for national interests, to pass this bill as
early as possible. If we agree that it is for our national interes, then we
should work together on this,” he said.
More BBL hearings set
Marcos’ panel has scheduled another public hearing on the BBL today but
Drilon is already resigned to the fact that the Senate version of the BBL
can’t be approved by the end of the current Congress session this week.
“Marcos is still drafting his committee report and maybe a substitute bill
which will address all the shortcomings both legal, social, economic and
political in this bill. We have to await that, and he has committed to me
that he will submit the committee report when we come back in session on
July 27. He is the chairman of the committee on local government, and I
would respect that timetable,” he said.
“In a months’ time, I think it’s reasonable - August or September. That is
not a deadline,” Drilon stressed.
Marcos dismissed Drilon’s idea saying that he had just been told by the
Comelec that there will be no rescheduling of the Oct. deadline for the
filing of CoCs.
“I was just with (Comelec) Comm. (Rowena) Guanzon and she says the Oct.
deadline for the filing of the COCs for the May 2016 elections will have to
be followed,” Marcos said.
Even the idea of holding a special session to expedite the deliberations
would not be feasible especially on the part of the Senate as they have no
bill to debate on in the first place.
“The Senate still does not have a version (of the bill) to discuss in a
special session. What will happen is that the senators may be around but
there would be nothing to talk about since there isn’t any committee report
yet nor the substitute bill,” Marcos said.
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said deferring the deadline for the filing of
the COCs is a decision that only the Comelec can make as a constitutional
This has been done in the past especially when Congress passed laws such as
creation of new provinces and cities, he said.
As a matter of procedure in crafting the substitute bill, Marcos said he
would start from the draft BBL and address first the constitutional issues
to remedy them.
Next, according to the senator, is to tackle the administrative issues and
the political issues, specifically the matter of power-sharing between the
national government and the Bangsamoro regional government.
Marcos said he would also address the economic issues, including the
controversial provisions on taxation and share in the national wealth.
“It has to be shown what justifies the differences in the share in national
wealth and the share in taxes between our local government units and the
Bangsamoro government,” Marcos said.
“We need to show what justifies the huge difference in the share of taxes
and in revenues from exploration of natural resources between regular local
government units and the Bangsamoro government,” Marcos said.
Marcos noted that under the draft BBL, the Bangsamoro government will retain
100 percent of taxes collected within their jurisdiction.
In contrast, other LGU’s remit to the national government all internal revenue taxes collected
in their area and it will return to them in the form of IRA (Internal
Revenue Allotment) where they will get a 40 percent share, while the
national government will get 60 percent.
In the case of national wealth taxes, local government share is 40 percent.
Marcos said he will try to address in the substitute bill the various issues
raised against the draft BBL to ensure the version he would present to the
plenary would not only stand the test of constitutionality, address the
concern of major stakeholders, and practical enough to work towards the goal
of achieving a lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao.
“We are creating an entirely unique form of local government which we never
conceived of before. And so that is why we have to be very very careful in
what we are doing because we might cause more problems than we are trying to
solve,” Marcos said.
The House leadership also appears now willing to compromise on the content
of the bill as approved by the ad hoc committee on BBL, saying it is open to
deleting the controversial opt-in provision to head off the possible
rejection of the bill as opposition to it mounts.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (right) and Majority Leader Neptali
Gonzales II: INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
This was bared yesterday by Majority Leader, Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali
“Boyet” Gonzales in a press briefing he called after a closed door meeting
with Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte and other House leaders.
But even as this developed, oppositors to the BBL remain unperturbed with
some adopting a wait-and-see attitude until the provision is actually
deleted from the proposed measure.
“The Speaker, House leadership, Senate leadership are open to its (op-in
provision) deletion so that members of Congress whose advocacy is to oppose
the measure because of fears, whether real or imaginary that they may be
included in the BBL, will be quashed,” Gonzales said.
Asked what particular provinces have voiced strong opposition to the opt-in
provision, Gonzales cited the cases of Palawan and Sarangani.
He however clarified the deletion could only happen during the period of
amendment, which would not take place until Congress resumes session in July
after President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino delivers his last state of the
nation address (SONA) as he admitted the House of Representatives would not
be able to meet the deadline imposed by the president on June 11.
“I came from a meeting with the House leadership, party leaders. There is
unanimity among us that we end the period of interpellation on Wednesday,”
“The session will start at 10 am so that we won’t have session on Thursday,”
“So we will have the period of amendments when we come back,” Gonzales said.
Congress will go on adjournment sine die this week.
Gonzales however said he doesn’t see the delay in the timetable for the
passage of the BBL as a setback as they can still approve it by October and
conduct of plebiscite three months after.
“Anyway, you don’t need to conduct the election right away,” said the
“An election can always be provided for by the law. The first election can
be held after the national elections with a proviso that the term of elected
officials will only be until June 30, 2019 so that the 2019 polls will be
synchronized with the national elections,” he explained.
While acknowledging the proposed compromise could be met with opposition
from Muslim lawmakers, Gonzales said he is hoping they would understand the
situation as it would be better than not having the proposed measure or any
part thereof approved at all.
They know how it runs on the floor. It will be hard to ram it through if you
don’t know your numbers,” said Gonzales.
“At the end of the day, we need votes, and those who oppose such opt-in
provision are quite many,” he stressed.
However, Gonzales said he could not ensure the proposed compromise could
lessen the numbers of interpellators as the oppositors to the measure could
have other issues in mind other than the opt-in provision.
Gonzales’ apprehension was shared by Yacap Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, one of
the staunch critics of the measure.
“While the opt-in provision is one of the provisions I strongly opposed for
the legitimate concern that it could one day include my province, Sarangani,
there are other issues I and my other colleagues are opposing,” Lopez told
the Tribune in a telephone interview.
Charlie V. Manalo