Friday, May 8, 2015

Senators Guingona, Pimentel propose charter change to accommodate BBL


From the Website of MILF
links: http://www.luwaran.net/index.php/welcome/item/968-senators-guingona-pimentel-propose-charter-change-to-accommodate-bbl

Senators Guingona, Pimentel propose charter change to accommodate BBL

  • Friday, May 08 2015
BBL FALLBACK. Senators Koko Pimentel and TG Guingona want charter change to address constitutionality issues surrounding the Bangsamoro Basic Law. File photo by Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB BBL FALLBACK. Senators Koko Pimentel and TG Guingona want charter change to address constitutionality issues surrounding the Bangsamoro Basic Law. File photo by Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB
 
Two Mindanaoan senators proposed charter change and federalism to accommodate the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), but stressed that the people must have a say through a constitutional convention.

On Monday (May 5), Senators Teofisto Guingona III and Aquilino Pimentel III filed a resolution urging lawmakers to “submit to the electorate” whether or not to call for a constitutional convention to change the 1987 Constitution. They said that if the electorate want charter change  the election for delegates must be held along with the May 9, 2016, presidential polls.


Pimentel said that Senate Resolution 1308 aims to address issues of the proposed BBL's constitutionality. The proposed law aims to create an expanded region in Muslim Mindanao. The bill is a product of the final peace agreement between the government and the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2014 after 17 years of negotiations.

The BBL aims to create the Bangsamoro region, and give it greater powers and resources than the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Guingona said he and Pimentel want charter change as a means to push the peace process forward. Guingona is from Bukidnon while Pimentel is from Cagayan de Oro City, both in Mindanao.
“The BBL mimics but is not exactly like a federal state. It's close to mimicking a federal system of government,” Guingona told Rappler in a phone interview.

He added: “If that's what we will do, then let's change the Constitution, and make the whole system of government federal so that each region can be federal. Why limit these powers to the Bangsamoro, and not give it to the rest of Mindanao?”

Guingona said he thought of charter change when he read the bill.

“It says the sharing of minerals from mining is 75-25 in favor of the Bangsamoro so I said how come only they get that share, and not the entire Mindanao? Let's just make the system federal so everybody will benefit, and not just one region,” the senator said.

Guingona explained that federalism is a long-running advocacy he shares with his father, former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr, and with Pimentel, and his colleague's father, former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr, known as the father of the Local Government Code.

“It's a long-time advocacy we have because, especially for the people of Mindanao, they feel far away from the government in Manila,” the younger Guingona said.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is also pushing for federalism.  The mayor is rumored to be eyeing higher office in the 2016 election but so far has not made a decision yet.

Pimentel and Guingona argued that a constitutional convention is the better mode of changing the charter instead of a constituent assembly, composed of members of Congress. In contrast, a constitutional convention is made up of elected delegates.

“The calling of a constitutional convention to propose amendments or revisions of the Constitution is the least divisive and the most transparent, exhaustive, and [democratic] way of achieving much-needed constitutional reforms,” the resolution stated.

The resolution said that while Congress can directly call for a constitutional convention through a vote of two-thirds of all members, the authors prefer that the public decide on the issue.

“This is better so that it won't be construed as the lawmakers want to change the Constitution to favor themselves. If it's a constituent assembly, congressmen and senators will be the ones deciding and can put in everything favorable. So that there is no doubt that the changes are tailor-fit for the elite, elect delegates to the convention,” Guingona said.

The senators said the election of the delegates can coincide with the 2016 polls “to avoid incurring the added cost of a separate election.”


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