Bangsamoro bill debate moved to next week

Senators have asked for a delay to examine a bill that will seal peace in the south of Philippines.

Bangsamoro bill debate moved to next week

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Senate plenary debates on the substitute bill for Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has been moved to next week after senators asked for more time to study an amended versions of the bill that aims to seal peace in the country's Muslim south.

"They asked for more time to examine completely and thoroughly the substitute bill,” the Philippine News Agency quoted Senate committee on local government chairman Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., as saying Monday.

Marcos -- the son of Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the Philippines for 21 years -- rejected the original bill in June, saying it was unconstitutional, and will “lead us to perdition”.

He had said about 80 percent of the original version of the bill has been amended by his committee, with 115 “major and minor” changes.

The bill legalizes the creation of a new region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, under the terms of a 2014 peace deal.

The deal, inked between the government and one time rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2014, is aimed at bringing an end to 17 years of negotiations and a decades old armed conflict, while granting Muslims greater political autonomy.

The bill was initially set to be passed by March, but a clash between elite police and Moro rebels in January left 67 people -- include 44 police commandos -- dead, endangering the peace process.

Marcos has said that a major change was the composition of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. The authority will serve as the interim government once the bill is ratified in Congress and through a plebiscite.

In the original version, the MILF will lead the body, with non-Moro indigenous peoples, women, settler communities, and other sectors included in the authority. Yet Marcos said this provision was amended.

Marcos also said that the substitute bill deleted some of the provisions that the House of Representatives also omitted from its own version.

Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer has said that as long as the floor debates on the bill it will not take long.

”For as long as the plenary debates... there is no reason to worry,” Ferrer told media after Monday’s session.

The MILF has described Marcos' report as “50 percent bad”.

Called Senate Bill 2894 under Committee Report 200, it is 100 pages long, with 17 articles and 215 sections.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ağustos 2015, 09:39