A national plebiscite should be conducted if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is approved by the legislature, a lawmaker proposed on Thursday.
“If ever the BBL passes through Congress, then it should go through a national plebiscite, not just a plebiscite within the Mindanao area,” Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay party-list said.
As it is now, Atienza added, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City, says only those areas covered by the BBL shall be asked in the plebiscite.
But he noted that “[t]he BBL, together with all the crucial issues and concerns being raised about it, affects the whole country, not just Mindanao.”
“One concrete example of this is the share in national income that will be allotted to the BBL. Under the proposed basic law, a block grant equivalent to four (4) percent of the net internal revenue of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) minus the internal revenue allotments (IRAs) of local government units (LGUs) shall be automatically appropriated to the Bangsamoro region yearly. We should ask our fellow Filipinos if they agree with this since it will be coming from the taxes they are paying. This directly affects all of us, not just the Filipinos in the area,” Atienza said.
“And more important, if the BBL is finally passed by Congress, it is practically amending the Constitution. So the whole nation should vote on it in order to comply with constitutional requirements,” the congressman, a former Manila mayor, added.
It will go against the Constitution if the plebiscite is limited only to areas covered by the proposed basic law, Atienza said.