Amid the ongoing tension between the Senate and the House of Representatives, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday called on her fellow lawmakers to shift focus and collectively work in passing the "long-delayed" Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
"Even as I continue to add my voice to defending the integrity and independence of the Senate, I call on my fellow lawmkers both in the Senate and the House of Representatives to shift focus and devote time and energy to passing the BBL. Instead of the endless and self-serving talks on extending the term limits of public officials, let us deliberate the passage of laws, such as the BBL, that will benefit the people," said Hontiveros, who attended today's Senate deliberations on the BBL.
"It's time that we pass this long-delayed measure. It is an institutional recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people. We must once and for all address the historical injustices committed against our Muslim brothers and sisters, help build lasting peace and support them in realizing their dream of self-determination," Hontiveros added.
Last January 17, Hontiveros filed Senate Bill No. 1652 or the "Bangsamoro Basic Law", which was gathered from the version provided by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).
In the BBL version of the BTC adopted by Hontiveros, the Bangsamoro territory will cover the present geographical area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the Municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite; the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; and all other contiguous areas where there is resolution of the local government unit or a petition.
Hontiveros said that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed in 2014 between the Philippine and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is a landmark agreement that promised peace in Mindanao. However, she said, four years after the signing of the CAB, there is still no enabling law for the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity.
"The passage of the BBL is long overdue. If we really want a positive transformation of Philippine society and a progressive reinvention of our concept of national community, our Moro brothers and sisters' full political inclusion through a genuine exercise of autonomy and ample representation in our democratic institutions, a complete acknowledgement of their claims to their ancestral lands (as well as the claim of the indigenous peoples or Lumad to theirs), and full respect for their cultural and religious freedoms must be realized," Hontiveros concluded. #
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