The Bangsamoro measure sponsored by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last week may encourage “personalistic” politics and political dynasties, the government chief peace negotiator warned on Monday.
Miriam Colonel Ferrer, chairman of the government peace panel, on Monday said Marcos’ substitute bill “radically altered” the allocation of seats in the proposed Bangsamoro parliament.
In the original draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law proposed by Malacañang and supported by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), 24 seats in the Bangsamoro parliament were allocated to parliamentary districts, 30 to party-lists and six seats to non-Moro indigenous peoples, settler communities and women, among others.
In his version of the measure, Marcos “jacked up” district representation to 40 seats, reserved seats were increased to 12 and only eight seats were allocated for party-lists.
“Lopsided representation in favor of district representatives, presumably elected on the basis of plurality or highest number of votes, will perpetuate personalistic politics, clan dynasties and weak political parties,” Ferrer said.
“On the other hand, we believe that allocating more seats to regional political parties and sectoral representatives would encourage the practice and development of a political culture in the region that is based on broad-based political parties with defined programs of governance competing in free and fair elections,” she added.
Ferrer appealed to senators to seriously reconsider the seat allocations in the regional parliament.
She said the envisioned Bangsamoro parliament seeks to ensure inclusive and more participatory governance.
“Allocating a large majority of the seats of the Bangsamoro parliament for parties and marginalized sectors will encourage politics based on principles, not personalities. It will empower the different segments of the people in the Bangsamoro,” Ferrer added.
The government and the MILF agreed on the passage of the law under a peace deal signed in March 2014.
The BBL was initially set to be passed by March but a clash between police and Muslim rebels in January that killed over 60 people including 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force drew public outrage and sparked strong opposition to the bill.
The plenary interpellation in the Senate did not proceed as scheduled on Monday because senators were not ready yet.
Although many lawmakers have expressed the intention to interpellate, they did not indicate when they intend to do it.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said some senators asked for more time to study Marcos’ measure.
They also also want Marcos to give them the matrix of amendments so that they can make the interpellations easier, he added.