Sunday, September 7, 2014

Drilon calls on fellow legislators: Forget politics for peace in Mindanao

MANILA-Ahead of the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today urged all his colleagues in both chambers to set aside political bickering and individual political aspiration for 2016 for the sake of achieving lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao.

“We will immediately start deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law once it is submitted to us within the week. We will request the Senate Committee on Local Government headed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  and the Senate Committee on Peace, Unity and Unification headed by Senator Teofisto Guingona III to immediately conduct committee-level hearings,” said Drilon.

Drilon expressed optimism that the Congress could pass the BBL during the first quarter of next year.

“I am confident that our self-imposed deadline is still within reach,” he said.

By the time the 2015 national budget is brought for plenary debates, Drilon said he expects that substantial discussions on the BBL draft have already been made.

“Before we tackle the 2015 national budget in mid-November, I expect that the major details of the BBL have already been fleshed-out and senators have already put forward their concerns,” Drilon said.   

“We will have to terminate temporarily the discussion on the BBL to give way for the 2015 budget. But we will immediately shift discussions back to the BBL once the budget is passed by the first or second week of December,” he added.

In order to ensure a smooth discussion of the draft BBL, the Senate leader asked his colleagues to leave politics behind when draft BBL is submitted to Congress.

“The fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be in the hands of Congress. I therefore appeal to our colleagues to show to the Filipino people that we can rise above political differences for the sake of peace. Peace is more important than our personal and parties’ political ambitions,” underscored Drilon.   

“We need everyone’s support for the crafting of an effective and lasting basic law to the Bangsamoro in both houses. No matter our political affiliations, we are all Filipinos and we all share a desire for peace, equality and prosperity as a nation,” stressed Drilon.

“We need to act as one to ensure that this prime opportunity towards unity between all parties will not fail. We shall not fail our brothers and sisters in Mindanao,” he added.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law is the enabling law of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement outlines the general features of the political settlement between the Philippine Government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It will pave the way for the creation of a new political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and end the decades-long insurgency in Mindanao. 

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