TAGBILARAN CITY – While saying that it may help but won’t guarantee peace in Mindanao, “Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) given to the Senate will not pass in its present form,” Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. said. The son of former Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos was categorical in issuing the statement that the said proposed law hoped for an end of the decades long war in Mindanao during the press conference Friday in MetroCenter Hotel, where he also met with Bohol municipal mayors.
The senator, who hails from the solid north, referring to vote-rich Ilocos regions, was responding to queries from Bohol media on varied topics, ranging from laws of national application to the local concerns. The senator was apparently reacting to the news reports that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) allegedly did not want that the BBL watered down, meaning no amendments. But reports said MILF denied this.
He expressed lament that the Senate was not consulted in making rounds of peace process particularly on the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), an agreement by which the BBL was anchored on and signed by the representatives of the Philippine government and the MILF.
He described BBL as “ill-conceived and poorly-crafted.” He said that the different sectors, including Congress, should have been well represented in the drafting of the proposed law. He also expressed dismay over what he called “imposed deadline” allegedly by Malcañang on the Senate to conclude its committee hearings or public consultation and come up with the final BBL version.
“We cannot rush. Its impact is very complex. And a lot of things have not yet been clear,” Marcos said, adding “we’ll see where it takes us.” He said that he and his committee had been making rounds of public hearings on BBL, in Zambonga, with indigenous peoples and MILF’s the bailiwick.
He said that probably these public consultations on BBL would be wrapped up in May 25 and the preparation of his committee report follows.
Marcos cited surveys that “ayaw ng tao ang BBL” because people lost trust to MILF after the incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where 44 Special Action Force, some MILF combatants and civilians were lost when the SAF tried to enforce an order to capture the alleged terrorists Zulkifli Abdhir alias “Marwan,” said to be Asia’s most wanted terror suspect and Abdul Basit alias “Usman,” an alleged bomb maker trained by “Marwan.”
But “Marwan” was killed by the SAF but “Usman” escaped. Recently “Usman” was killed allegedly by his armed escorts allegedly because of his bounty on his head.
The duo (Marwan and Usman) carried a bounty of $5 million and $1 million, respectively, to anyone who can provide information on their arrest.
Davao City Rodrigo Duterte, who visited here in March, hinted that allegedly the cause of the Mamasapano incident was the reward money of “Marwan” and “Usman.” (rvo)