Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the chairperson of the government peace panel negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday admitted that the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not perfect thus, it is the responsibility of Congress to “clean it up.”
Her statement deviates from the stance of the MILF whose leaders have repeatedly warned that they will not accept a revised version of the proposed Bangsamoro law.
“We know that the draft law is not perfect, that it is up to Congress to clean up, fine-tune all the different provisions,” Ferrer told Palace reporters.
Appearing in Malacañang for a press briefing, she also blasted “inaccuracies” that are circulating over the BBL and which were designed to derail the bill.
She said there are at least four issues that have surfaced that should be clarified to completely understand the spirit of the BBL.
“I think all along we have been consistent with what we have been saying as to what exactly are written in the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law… Our biggest problem has been the misrepresentation of the actual provisions that you will find in the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” she added.
On the matter of the constitutional bodies, Ferrer explained that the “imperfect” draft measure “does not in any way diminish any of the powers of the constitutional bodies.”
“For instance, on the matter of the Commission on Audit, we will find in the Section on Article 5, powers of government, Section 2 under concurrent powers number 7, auditing, it says here very clearly that any—the body that will be created in terms of performing some auditing function in the Bangsamoro shall not in any way prejudice the powers, authority and duty of the national Commission on Audit; and that’s very clear,” she said.
“So that is not taking away anything from the powers of the national COA,” she stressed.
Ferrer said what could have caused confusion was the proposal to call that body Bangsamoro Commission on Audit.
“Perhaps, one of the revisions or cleaning up that could be done is to remove any reference to that particular name, which has created much of this confusion,” she pointed out.
With regard to the Civil Service Commission, the official cited the same article on the powers of government, particularly Article 5, Section 2 on concurrent powers number 8 where it says that the Bangsamoro government shall develop and administer a professional civil service corps which is an ideal because all agencies and units of government certainly should have that kind of a professional civil service corps.
“We are not adding anything new in the powers of this Bangsamoro government to the powers that are already enjoyed in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao over its own civil servants. Because the reference here are to those powers that are already provided in Republic Act 9054,” Ferrer explained. “Go back to the original source kasi ‘pag ang lumalabas ay ‘yung mga parang general perceptions then you miss out all of these very, very important provisions in the draft law that basically repeats what is written in the constitution or upholds what are written in the Constitution and effectively delimits the powers of the Bangsamoro government.”
She said the same holds true for the poll body in the Bangsamoro government shall be part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“So it is like the regional offices of the Comelec and that is written here. This is the actual text that you will find in the draft law. This Bangsamoro electoral office shall be part of the Comelec and shall perform the functions of the Comelec in the Bangsamoro, precisely the functions that are performed by the regional offices of the Comelec in all other regions of the country,” Ferrer said. “It’s not going to be an entirely different electoral body but very clearly it is going to be the regional office of the Comelec in the Bangsamoro, in the same way that you do have a regional office now in the ARMM that administers the elections—the regional elections.”