MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Nancy Binay wants Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and other convenors of the National Peace Summit to attend the resumption of the Senate public hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law on Monday.
In a press statement issued Thursday, Binay asked Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the committee on local government, to invite the ‘citizen leaders’ earlier tapped by President Benigno Aquino III to review the proposed BBL to be present at the hearing.
“I am urging Senator Marcos to invite them as resource persons to the hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Their presence in the hearings will not only ensure that every sector is well represented but also provide for more information that will lead to a better understanding of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” she said.
Binay believes Cardinal Tagle, Davide, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, former Ambassador Howard Dee, and peace advocate Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman can aid the Senate committee in making decisions pertaining to the BBL.
“Hingan po natin ng komento ang lahat ng concerned dito. Kailangan pong mapakinggan natin ang bawat sektor upang mas mapagtuunan natin ng pansin ang mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang maaapektuhan ng batas na ito,” she said, adding that the continued discussion on the BBL is important in ensuring lasting peace in Mindanao.
The BBL will embody the peace agreement signed by the Philippine government and the MILF in March last year, which aims to end the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.
It seeks to create the Bangsamoro political entity which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It will also specify wealth- and power-sharing arrangements between the national government and the new political entity.
The criticisms against BBL snowballed following the bloody Mamasapano clash that resulted in the deaths of 44 Special Action Force commandos, 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters, and five civilians.
The Senate committee suspended its hearing on the proposed BBL to get the clearer picture on the incident, which was initially blamed on the the MILF members who allegedly engaged the SAF troops in a firefight when the latter neutralized Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan on January 25.
The hearing on April 13 will be the first since the incident happened. The leadership of both houses of Congress wanted the BBL to be passed by June 2015.
On the other hand, the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and law headed by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, was tapped to conduct hearings on the constitutional issues surrounding the BBL.
At least two hearings were conducted by the panel after the Mamasapano incident.
Santiago earlier said she has finished her report but she will not release it until the main committee, headed by Marcos, is done with its hearing. She said her input will be part of Marcos’ report. (MNS)