Friday, March 28, 2014

Drilon to Congress: Be active on Bangsamoro basic law debate

MANILA-“Take an active role in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and passionately debate on the most pertinent issues about the peace accord.”

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon issued this call to his colleagues in Congress and urged them to devote time and effort in scrutinizing the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law when it reaches Congress.

“Soon, the ball will be in Congress’ hands. It is the Congress that will ultimately shape and mold the piece of legislation which will breathe life to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” emphasized Drilon, a former executive and justice secretary.

 “We cannot afford to err on this most-sought piece of legislation, if we truly want to secure this peace in Mindanao which we have now realized after decades of hostilities. It is therefore incumbent upon us to make sure that the efforts exerted by both panels will not be put in vain, by ensuring that the Bangsamoro Law falls within the four corners of the Constitution, and  that it can withstand judicial scrutiny,” Drilon stressed.
The Senate leader underscored that the law, which should be passed as early as possible, needs “to be responsive to the real and distinct problems and needs of the Bangsamoro people.”

“This measure should resolve social tensions, poor infrastructure, and lack of economic development in the region. It will demand from our lawmakers their utmost prudence, practicality and political acumen,” he added.

The Senate and the House of Representatives had earlier agreed to include the Bangsamoro Basic Law in their priority agenda, and both chambers committed to pass it by the end of 2014. “That is our target because we want to see 2015 as the year when we can submit this for ratification by the areas covered by the Bangsamoro Basic Law.” 

The Senate leader is optimistic that the historic accord can effectively realize the promise of long-lasting peace and development for Mindanao.

Drilon congratulated the government, the OPAPP, and the MILF panels for having been able to complete “the almost-Herculean challenge of establishing peace in Mindanao,” saying that the whole affair has been made possible by a genuine desire for peace, justice and development by both sides.”

The senator noted that the agreement was defined by effective negotiations where both parties fully articulated their concerns, even against challenging and tensely divisive issues: “Both sides fully refused to walk away, and held on to peace when hate and division seemed the easier option.”     

“We achieve peace when we achieve understanding. And with the Bangsamoro agreement, we show the world that though shaped by our diversity, we are much more defined by our common dreams of peace, equality and prosperity as a nation,” Drilon said.


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