Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairman of the government peace panel, vented her frustration on the “death” of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by castigating Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., saying they are to blame for the failure of Congress to pass the measure.
In a statement, Ferrer pointed out that Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee on the BBL, and Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, wasted taxpayers’ money on proceedings that led to nothing but the death of the BBL.
“In all, 40 public hearings and 14 plenary deliberations conducted by the HoR Ad hoc Committee chaired by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, and 15 public hearings a nd 14 sessions of plenary interpellations led by local governments committee chair Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. amounted to nothing, along with the millions of pesos of taxpayers’ money used up to finance these drawn-out proceedings,” Ferrer fumed.
The House of Representatives had been hounded by quorum problems even after President Benigno Aquino 3rd made a personal appeal to congressmen to pass the BBL.
“In the Senate, the intermittent absence of the bill sponsor and the remaining interpellator stalled the deliberation,” Ferrer said, referring to Marcos as the sponsor and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.
The 16th Congress adjourned on Wednesday.
Ferrer appealed for sobriety among stakeholders, assuring that the “collective inaction” of lawmakers on the BBL will not stop the momentum of the peace process in Mindanao.
“It is only to be expected that the Filipino people, especially those in the Bangsamoro who had pinned high hopes on this new law, are grieving, hurting, and once again, dreading what tomorrow may bring,” she said.
“However, the collective inaction of our legislators to complete the deliberation on the BBL did not, and will not, stop the momentum of the Bangsamoro peace process. At this low point, we call for sobriety and perseverance,” she added.
According to her, the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) remains a signed document that binds the Philippine government and the MILF to undertake “legal and democratic processes and meaningful social and political reforms.”
The CAB provides the mechanisms for the transformation of conflict-affected areas and MILF camps into secure and productive communities, and even the gradual and phased process of decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants.
With some adjustments in the timeline, Ferrer said the government negotiating panel will see to it that the next administration will be able to carry out the full implementation of the CAB.
“It took a long time to get to this set of practical steps. We need to take away the fear and distrust of the Bangsamoro for our country to become whole,” she said.
“We therefore urge our politicians and fellow citizens to take the time to study the history of the conflict and the peace process so as to get a better understanding of the road map and our unflinching efforts to see it through,” she said.