SENATE President Franklin Drilon on Friday assured Sen. Ferdinand Marcos there are no plans to reorganize the Senate to speed up the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
According to Marcos, the Senate president sent him a text message giving him an assurance that there is no impending reorganization of the Senate.
“While we are in discussion I received a text message from SP Drilon. Here’s what he said: ‘There are no plans to reorganize the Senate’,” Marcos told the members of the media after attending the 62nd National Assembly of the League of Vice-Governors of the Philippines held in Tuguergarao.
Drilon gave Marcos the assurance a day after the latter disclosed an alleged plot to reorganize the Senate to facilitate successful passage of the draft BBL.
Marcos said he had received information that Malacañang is behind the alleged plot as it sees the move as a quick solution to ensure the BBL gets enacted into law.
Marcos said he is grateful Drilon stood his ground to defend the independence of the Senate.
“It seems that such threat of reorganization will not push through anymore,” he added.
Marcos also doesn’t see the reorganization of Senate as an effective way to fast track the passage of BBL, noting that might even delay the process because the new committee that would handle the proposed law would have to start from scratch.
“Nothing will change. If you reorganize, it will not make the BBL more constitutional. If you reorganize, it will not change the problems that we found in the BBL,” Marcos said.
He added the supposed plan to reorganize the Senate apparently came from someone who has no understanding of the legislative process and the work that his committee has been doing on the BBL.
Committee on track
The senator stressed his committee is on track with its target to complete the preparation of a substitute bill for the draft BBL, which the panel members could discuss when the Senate resumes its session on July 27.
Meanwhile, Marcos also called on local government officials to get involved in the discussion on the BBL saying the proposed law affects not only M indanao but the entire country as well.
He revealed other local government units (LGUs) in the country will have to contribute funds to the Bangsamoro government.
Under the BBL, the Bangsamoro government’s budget will come from three sources: the annual budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao of about P24.6 billion at current levels, the Internal Revenue Allotment share that LGUs under the Bangsamoro government will still receive, and a block grant, estimated to be between P35-P36 billion annually.
“The question is, where would that fund come from? Ultimately, it would come from you,” Marcos said.
The Senator said he acknowledges the argument that the Bangsamoro government would need additional funding support because Muslim Mindanao is still lagging behind other areas of the country in terms of development. However, he pointed out the BBL should provide safeguards to ensure funds would be used properly. Such safeguards are lacking in the draft BBL, Marcos explained.