Makati City, Metro Manila - In his luncheon speech during the forum ‘Implications of Mamasapano on the Peace Process: Moving Forward’, former Senator Aquilino ‘Nene’ Pimentel raised concern that some BBL provisions may face Constitutional challenge.
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For instance he pointed to Article X, Section 1 of the Constitution stating that there are two (2) autonomous regions which are the Cordillera and ARMM. Accordingly, by abolishing the ARMM, the Proposed BBL is not in conformity with the Constitution. But in the end he stressed that the Muslim people deserves the BBL.
During the panel discussion former AFP Chief of Staff, and currently Congressman Rodolfo ‘Pong’ Biazon said, “I assure you the BBL will not pass as is”. He hinted that Congress will edit the draft to make some provisions more congruent with the Constitution. He likewise suggested strengthening the consideration for the rights of the Lumads and Christian settlers of ARMM in the BBL.
On her part GPH Panel Chair Miriam Coronel Ferrer stressed: “No-BBL, is better than mangled BBL. Mangled BBL results in [sic] repeating history.”
Lastly, Senator Angara gave assurance that the Senate “will approach the BBL with sensitivity, truth, and desire for peace”.
The forum had two panel discussions. Congressman Rodolfo Biazon, GPH Peace Panel Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, and Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga of the MILF composed the morning panel. Likewise, Senator Sonny Angara, Rep. Henry Oaminal, and Dean Sedfrey Candelaria composed the afternoon panel.
The said forum was conducted last March 5, 2015. It brought together more than 170 legislators, opinion makers, ARMM leaders, CSOs, and the media. The Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF), Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA) with other partners, put together the said forum to help reinforce the stakeholders’ support to the peace process post Mamasapano incident. The Australian Government, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and UNICEF funded the whole event.