• Aquino ‘lobbies’ Senate for BBL


    AFTER meeting with leaders of the House of Representatives last week, President Benigno Aquino 3rd is reaching out to leaders of the Senate in an effort to ensure immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that has been delayed by the tragic incident in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province where 44 elite police officers were killed in January.

    In an interview on Sunday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. disclosed that the President has been conducting consultations and holding talks with other leaders of Congress, “including the leaders of the Senate.”

    “What we know is that [the President]continues to consult and communicate with leaders of Congress, including the leaders of the Senate,” Coloma said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

    Last week, Aquino vowed that he will see to it that the BBL is passed, saying he cannot renege on such major obligation under the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    “Uulitin natin, tuloy na tuloy ito [We repeat, there’s no stopping the BBL]. There is not a better alternative for the rest of the country . . . It’s time to make a stand . . . Am I for peace or am I for war? I don’t think there is any politician who will stand up to say ‘I am for war,’ ” he quoted Aquino as saying during his meeting with leaders of the House of Representatives a week ago today.

    Coloma said the President made the remarks when he was asked by a lawmaker about the BBL and how he intends to go about passing it considering delays caused by the now Mamasapano massacre.

    According to him, he thinks the President was able to appease the House leaders, prompting Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, whose committee handles the BBL, to “set” a “timeline” for the proposed law’s passage.

    Also on Sunday, Coloma hinted that the President is giving the BBL a harder push as he tries to convince lawmakers from both houses to support the measure.

    “We all know that President Aquino and the government give a high priority to the passage of the [BBL]. Let us wait for any announcement on any meeting he would call [for Congress leaders],” he said.

    Coloma noted that after the President’s explanations last week, the lawmakers were appeased and emotions seemed to have subsided.

    He said Aquino reiterated the importance of approving the BBL in a timely manner to pave the way for the holding of a plebiscite and, if approved, to “give members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority sufficient time to demonstrate their capabilities.”

    Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the chairman of the local government panel hearing the BBL in the Senate, suspended all hearings in connection with the bill until after the Mamasapano incident has been clarified and officials were made answerable for lapses.


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    1. vagoneto rieles on

      The BBL locomotive is back on greased rails. For a while, right after Mamasapano, one would have thought that its wheels had come off; but the country had had no such luck. The tunnel vision of the President and his ‘peace ladies’; their recklessness and obstinacy; and, the ‘like-mindedness’ , (or was it a generously replenished DAP?), of the Senate’s and the House’s leadership, have put it back on track. Where do these ladies and gentlemen get their brazenness and seeming contempt for their country? This is puzzling.Their self-assurance deriving from the strangle-hold that a ‘ruling class’ has on their positions might be a big part of the answer; and, even as it might sound like a ‘cop-out’, the long shadow of our feudalistic past could be the other component of the answer.
      It seems clear that only the Filipino, united as one, and with one long and strident voice , could stop this ‘LOCOmotive’ dead on its track.

    2. vagoneto rieles on

      The visible face of Bangsamoro’s push for the BBL is that of Mohagher Iqbal and Murad Ebrahim. These gentlemen, however, have handlers or controllers who guide and calibrate their progress..not just in the negotiations..but in the overall objective of acquiring an incrementally expanding area of exclusion or sub-state. They also have auxiliary, albeit invisible, support in the form of well distributed armed groups that are ready to act at the bidding of the controllers. Our Mesdames Quintos-Deles and Coronel-Ferrer, (and the President who is their handler), have been up against a shrewd and crafty panel that was singularly focused on their objective. To have been unaware of this is to be naive, feckless and ineffective.
      It might be helpful to remember that since the first organized uprising of the Philippine Muslim, led by Misuari in the 1970s, chronic and intermittent low grade wars against the government have been maintained and sustained..even as ‘peace’ negotiations were held periodically..regardless. We would be well served to view Bangsamoro’s offers of peace on one hand, and, this sustained insurgency on the other, as components of one strategy package. We must also accept that there will be no end to this creeping land grab. There’s just no point to entertaining a fanciful daydream like the BBL. We can only end up holding the dirty end of the stick.