Friday, November 28, 2014


From the Website of MILF
links: http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/welcome/item/1366-house-public-hearing-on-bbl-in-tawi-tawi-elicits-positive-responses

 

House public hearing on BBL in Tawi-Tawi elicits positive responses



The House Ad Hoc Committee’s public hearing on House Bill No. 4994 or the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law held at Sand-Bar Lepa Convention Center in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi on November 13, 2014 elicits positive responses from various sectors that attended.
The more or less 500 multi-sectors’ representatives who were eager and excited to listen, express their concerns, doubts and worries on the BBL were surprised to see Congressman Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City among the group of congressmen that came to Bongao for the consultation on BBL.

It can be remembered that Rep. Lobregat was one of those who strongly opposed the aborted MOA-AD in 2008 that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional. What amused the mostly Sama and Tau Sug participants were the presence of two (2) former protagonists Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, who was once the Brigade Commander of the Philippine Marines at the height of the MNLF Rebellion in early 70’s and Congressman Tupay Loong of Sulu, then MNLF Brigade Commander in the province.

Their men fought with each other in the battlefields, but for the sake of peace, they sat side by side, a unique bonding, bewilderment, for the sake of finding peace in Mindanao.

Rep. Biazon saying, “Those that got killed in the battlegrounds were sons of poor farmers and fishermen on the government side, the same was true on the side of the rebels, and worsts he continued, those who were killed in the cross-fires were innocent civilians”.

“That was very tragic experience”, he said further.

 “That is why we are here to look for a solution for the Mindanao Question”. Joining the party of the 16 Representatives, were OPAPP representatives headed by Atty. Joe Lorena, Atty. Akmad Sakkam and Atty. Asani Tammang from the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and Atty. Datu Antonio Kinoc, member of the MILF Peace Panel.

Former Provincial Governor Hji. Sadikul Sahali, father of Congresswoman Hja. Ruby Sahali and father of Governor Nurbert  Sahali told the participants, “Now is your time to voice out your opinions and views, if you feel that BBL is a way of uplifting your general welfare, is it you to decide”
“I gave you the freedom to choose”, he stressed further. “The people of Tawi-Tawi can decide for themselves”, he emphasized.

Regional Assemblyman Sulay Halipa of the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) voiced out his sentiments with regard to the fate of 33,000 officials and personnel of ARMM, saying that once BBL is ratified, ARMM is deemed abolished.

 He said that, “That massive dislocations and lay-offs are inevitable.

Chairman Rufus clarified and cited Article XVI, Section 9 of the BBL that the BTA shall schedule a gradual phasing out of offices, that officials holding appointive positions shall continue to perform their functions in accordance with the schedule.

Basilan Rep. Jim Salliman-Hataman reiterated the stand of his brother ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman that he will turn over smoothly the governance and all its assets of ARMM once BBL is ratified by the people.
Mayor Ahmad-Nasiff Abdurahman of Simunul Municipality said that he feared that the MILF will replace them once BBL is ratified.

Chairman Rodriguez responded, that is premature and mere speculations; assured him that as elected official, you will continue to serve and can run in 2016 local elections if you are still qualified. He cited Article VI, Section 7 of the BBL, to state among others that the privileges already enjoyed by the Local Government Units under existing laws shall not be diminished unless otherwise altered, modified or reformed for good governance in accordance with a law enacted by the Bangsamoro Parliament.

Former RLA Speaker Pochong Abubakar suggested that Zamboanga City be included in the plebiscite but Rep. Lobregat reacted saying that “The Zamboangeños voted twice for exclusion of the City, with that, I have to respect the decision of my people. Nevertheless, I am in favor of the Bangsamoro, because this is an opportunity to restore lasting peace in Mindanao”.

 Sajid Adil of Bongao voiced out his opinion in high tone voice, saying “The BBL is not the solution to resolve the conflict in Mindanao”. He said, “Once Bangsamoro is in place, the Maguindanaons or the Maranaos will dominate the Tausugs”. “Given this scenario, infighting among ethnic tribes is unavoidable”.

Rep. Loong stood up, spoke in Tausug dialect and asked and explained to Adil the content of the BBL on electoral process, “What do you want? Congressman Loong clarified that once Bangsamoro is established a ministerial form of government will follow. Each province will elect their district representatives in the parliament. The Chief Minister will be elected by members of the parliament. So, where is the dominance there?, Rep. Loong said.
 
Prof. Said Alih of Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi said that the government is employing a “double-standard policy, citing the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the Jakarta accord of 1996 in contrast with the BBL that is favorable to the MILF. “It is unfair and unjust to the MNLF”.

Atty, Lorena of OPAP said, “If there is anyone so close to MNLF, it is me”. He presented facts to elaborate his points which humbled Prof. Alih to sit down rather than continue reacting.

Atty. Sakkam representing the BTC and Atty. Tony Kinok from the MILF Peace Panel supported the statement of Att. Lorena.

Other speakers from the settlers and the Badjaos aired some of their sentiments but were responded well by members of the committee.

This writer was the last to speak. “As President of the Bangsamoro Intellectuals for Reforms, I manifest our strong support to the BBL. The BBL contains substantive and comprehensive provisions which uplift the people from underdevelopment, marginalization, etc. and not the Organic act that created ARMM.

 “I was one of the commissioners appointed by then President Corazon Aquino in 1988 to draft the Organic Act. Much of our desire to incorporate substantive powers, we failed, to be honest. In the BBL you find 58 Exclusive Powers transferred by the National Government to the Bangsamoro Government, which cannot be replicated to the non-Bangsamoro areas, with only 9 Reserved Powers retained by the National Government, with another 14 Shared-Powers between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government”, this writer said.

“The Power –sharing scheme, the Addendum of the Bangsamoro Waters, the Block Grants, the Social Development Funds, the ODA, assistance or grant-in-aids from foreign and from local source are something we foresee and happy about. The Shari’ah Justice System is enhanced under the BBL”, this writer further said.
“The Ministerial form of government that is being given to us under the basic law; asymmetric relationship with the national government is a unique model.”

“Along with this context, this writer appealed to the Honorable Congressmen to give the Bangsamoro a chance to reign so that we can prove our strong adherence to the principle of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong”.

As this writer was speaking he sensed that the congressmen were listening attentively and while making his elaborations, someone whispered presumably saying, “This man knows his assignments”.

The consultation ended at around 7:00 PM; the speakers and participants parted ways satisfied and contented, with smiling faces.






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