• Marcos: Ensure ARMM workers’ welfare


    Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in a hearing on Tuesday, said he wants to scrutinize plans to guarantee the welfare of over 36,000 public servants in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as other key sectors like women, youth and business that could be adversely affected with enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

    Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, had called for the Senate hearing to address the concerns of all major stakeholders before the panel could buckle down to write its committee report on the BBL.

    He noted that in October last year, during a hearing in Cotabato City, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said while a transition team was organized to craft a plan for ARMM employees who would either be dismissed from service or opt for early retirement with the BBL’s passage, details still have to be hammered out.

    “I’d like to know if, indeed, such a plan has been completed as OPAPP has promised, and what specific measures were put up to ensure the welfare of ARMM public servants who might be displaced as a result of the establishment of a new autonomous government under the BBL,” Marcos pointed out in a statement.

    The senator earlier said a better approach could be to strengthen the language of the BBL to make the guarantee for the welfare of ARMM employees more specific.

    Apart from the Civil Service Commission, other agencies invited to shed light on this issue at Tuesday’s hearing included the Interior and Local Government, Education, Labor and Employment, Finance, Health and Trade and Industry departments.

    To discuss the ramifications of the BBL on banking, business and finance, the Senate panel sought the participation of the National Economic and Development Authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs in the hearing.

    Marcos also earlier said he is yet to see any serious study done on how the wide-ranging powers on finance, banking, taxation and control over natural resources of the Bangsamoro government, as contemplated under the BBL, will impact businesses and the economy of the entire Mindanao.

    To represent the business sector in the hearing, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Philippine Industries Inc. were also invited.

    Representatives from the women sector, including the Philippine Commission on Women, the Women and Gender Institute and the Women Engaged in Action on 1325 were also present.

    The youth sector was represented in the hearing by the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development.

    Marcos said he was conducting the hearing as part of his promise to consult all major stakeholders who were not given a chance to voice their concerns on the proposed BBL.

    He will hold another hearing on Wednesday to get inputs from local executives in core areas of the proposed Bangsamoro territory and other adjacent local government units, who also were not properly consulted on the process leading to the drafting of the BBL.


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