House panel to vote on proposed BBL

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 05 2015 05:44 PM | Updated as of May 06 2015 08:45 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at the House of Representatives will vote on the proposed measure next week, the panel's chairman said.

Ad hoc committee chairman Rufus Rodriguez said the voting will proceed as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday.

"We are on time. We are on track. We are going to have the voting on May 11 and 12. All the members of the ad hoc committee will be there. I believe that dream to have lasting peace in Mindanao will be achieved through the BBL,'' Rodriguez said.

''We are going to remove at least 8 provisions that are unconstitutional and we'll make sure that we will be able to bring this to the plenary on May 18. Then we’ll have the first week of June where we send it to the Senate."

Rodriguez said by June 10 and 11, the bicameral committee should have already voted on the measure.

''Before June 30 we hope the President will sign this particular measure."

The BBL is expected to be tackled in plenary this month. The congressional leadership hopes to pass it in time for the president's signature before it goes on sine die adjournment.

"Well it will bring his legacy and this is good for the Bangsamoro, it’s good for Mindanao, it’s good for the country and so we are going to therefore get this final particular solution to the 43 years of internal war,'' he said.

''Do you want to go back again to fighting? Based on a SWS survey almost 50% are in favor of peaceful negotiation. Only 20% are for all-out war and so we can take it from there the Filipino nation is tired of war. They are tired of war in Mindanao and us in Mindanao are tired of war. Our cities get bombed, even Cagayan De Oro. It’s about time we put an end to this and have peace in Mindanao, which means peace also in the entire country."


Lawmakers, meanwhile, welcomed the neutralization of Abdul Basit Usman, the Filipino bomb maker who was the target of the January 25 Mamasapano raid which led to the deaths of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, 44 elite police commandos, and several Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and civilians.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano welcomes Usman's death but said he doubts that the MILF was responsible for neutralizing him.

''I agree with the Armed Forces, I have my own sources on the ground that it was not the MILF who killed Basit Usman. It just so happened that the area where Basit Usman was killed is near to the camp of the MILF - the Camp Afgan - in Guindolongan,'' he said.

''Noong nagkaroon na ng putukan lumapit na ang MILF. They were the ones who recovered the body of Basit Usman. According to my sources nagkaroon ng internal problem ang grupo ni Basit Usman and maybe may factor dyan ang reward so yon po ang ating information sa ground."

For Alejano, the MILF assistance should have happened long ago.

"Well for me in the first place kung nag-oblige lamang o nag-comply lamang ang MILF noon when the government panel requested them for the turnover of Basit Usman in 2011, wala na po sana tayo unang-una Mamasapano,'' he said.

''Pangalawa po wala na tayong issue ngayon kung sino ang pumatay sa kanya ano, ni-request na yan ng government as part of the confidence building measures. However, they did not comply and I was asking the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process why did we proceed in spite of the failure of the MILF to comply with the request of the government,'' he said.

''Sabi ko nga iyong trust nade-develop iyan hindi dapat yan nakakanal sa oras. So again it required the government to conduct its own operation in Mamasapano that led to the death of SAF 44. Dahil nga hindi tinurn-over ng MILF si Basit Usman so kailangan mag-operate ang gobyerno dahil nandoon parin ang threat ng mga terrorista."

ACT CIS Rep. Samuel Pagdilao said, "The neutralization of Basit Usman is the best step towards our campaign against terrorism. Whoever was responsible for the neutralization is of no moment because it is a positive step in the campaign against terrorism, especially international terrorism, that has set foot in our country."

Party-list group congressmen meantime are expected to come up with a united stand on the BBL.

Party-list coalition spokesperson, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe said, ''We will have a meeting sa Thursday. Ang isa sa pag-uusapan ho namin itong BBL that will also include itong Basit Usman factor and all other factors. Ang tatanong po namin kung magkakaroon kami ng united coalition stand dito sa BBL or magkanya-kanya kaming posisyon."