MANILA (Mabuhay) — The passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law would have been easier and faster if the government peace panel has been open to the amendments and admitted its shortcomings earlier on, Senator Francis Escudero said Monday.
During the Senate hearing on BBL, Escudero scored the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the peace panel for failure to consult all the stakeholders in the Bangsamoro.
“Sa totoo lang kung sa simula’t mula naging bukas ang OPAPP at GRP sa mga pagbabago, mas mabilis pa siguro maipapasa ito. Kayo po, iyong mga bossing niyo sa OPAPP at GRP ang nagmatigas e. Ang posisyon as is where is, hanggang noong isang linggo. Umamin lang sila noong isang gabi sa Malacanang na sige baguhin na natin,” he said.
OPAPP Undersecretary Jose Lorena admitted during the hearing that the consultation they conducted was not enough.
“There is an understanding that there will be consultation when Congress discusses this (BBL). The Congress will draft a law that will reflect the sentiment of the people and not just the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front),” he said.
Escudero then asked why the OPAPP was stubborn on its position that the BBL should be passed in its original text when not enough consultation was made.
“Kung iyong consultation papasok pag hinuhubog na iyong batas tulad ng hearing ng Kongreso, bakit ninyo ipinaglalaban na as is where is dapat ito at hindi pwedeng baguhin? Anong konsultasyon pa ang gagawin kung ang posisyon ng OPAPP at peace panel ay hindi na ito pwedeng galawin at baguhin?” the senator asked.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, chairman of the local government committee, said Congress is doing the job which should have been undertaken by the OPAPP and the peace panel.
He said previous peace agreements have included the sultanates because they are necessary to the peace process.
“We cannot, by any stretch of imagination, possibly have a successful peace process that we refer to now as all inclusive when you have not included the most ancient of the royal houses, the sultanates, who are extremely important in any kind of political change that we are trying to institute in the region,” he said.
Lorena said the sultanates were represented by the MILF as with the other Bangsamoro people.
“In the whole process, we understand that the participation of the royalty, the MILF and the others will be brought together because the Constitution provides the crafting of an all-inclusive law,” he said. (MNS)