Press Release
May 30, 2018

Chairman, Sub-Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law

"We are on track with the BBL. These past 2 days and nights disproved the disbelievers that the Senate can hack it. At this time, the landmark measure is being forged by Senators across party lines. The Committee Report which was drawn mainly from the work of the BTC is being rewritten by Senators who hold their legal torches aloft on their own.

We must remember that the Minority Leader who propounded difficult questions headed the Justice department for many years. While it may appear that he was unfeeling in peeling away provisions that the BTC laboriously put together, Sen. Frank Drilon was in fact cutting through the verbiage to craft not just better language, but even enhanced it.

"Today , we will tackle Fiscal Autonomy , which is not just about the pesos-and-cents issue, but about pumping up the future Bangsamoro Government's ability to rebuild communities ravaged by war and neglect. We expect proposals to increase provisions that will ensure transparency and public accountability. Sen. Recto promised questions & proposals in all of the 18 Chapters. If last night is indicative of how things will be today, then I think the BBL will be a better document coming out of the Plenary than when it first landed in the Senate.

"Among the amendments tackled were:

"Bangsamoro territory is amended to BM territorial jurisdiction. There will be further discussions.

"All provisions referencing to a sub-state status has been disposed of to clarify that the BBL is about an autonomous region like any other. The Republic's flag & Lupang Hinirang shall always be flown & played along with the Bangsamoro heraldic symbols.

"Sen. Lacson and Honasan polished the chapters on the Bangsamoro police. The Bangsamoro police is part of the PNP with recruitment & promotions following what is nationally implemented.

"Military, national & Bangsamoro defense were also made more explicit.

"The provisions on the Judiciary & system of courts took cognizance & clarified the extent of applicability of the Shariah justice system on Muslims & non-Muslims.

"Land titling, management of protected areas and ancestral domains issues were also enriched and made more accurate with correlation to existing land, environment and fisheries resources laws.

"Anti-political dynasty provisions were also discussed and even got support for the BTC language.

We expect another long day. It's all for the better version. Coming from all failed attempts of past administrations to build lasting peace in Mindanao, I am very hopeful we can have a BBL that satisfies the concerns of Muslim Mindanao and most of all our Constitution."

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