As hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) are expected to wrap up in the next two weeks, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon has vowed to commence debates on the measure at the earliest time possible.
“Once we receive the report of the Committee, we will immediately commence debates and vote upon it at the soonest,” Drilon said.
The Senate leader made the statement after the official turnover to the Senate on Tuesday of the report of the Citizens’ Peace Council, an independent multi-sector group which has recommended the passage of the BBL.
Drilon also said that the Senate will encourage and allow every senator to express his or her views “on this very critical piece of legislation.”
He also said that “the show of support from the people in the continuation of the peace process in Mindanao is very encouraging.”
A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) last March showed that at least 45 percent of the population believes that peaceful negotiations are more effective than military operations.
“The survey is clear: 45 percent of the people would prefer the peace process to provide stability and peace to Southern Mindanao as against 20 percent saying the military should provide a solution. Those who want the peace process to succeed constitute nearly half of the entire population,” Drilon explained.
“This renewed support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law is very inspiring. It has reinforced our belief that we would never achieve peace and development in Mindanao by means of force. We need to have faith that indeed peace is within reach. We will give peace a chance through this piece of legislation,” he said.
The Citizens’ Peace Council, spearheaded by respected and esteemed public figures like Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, former Ambassador to the Holy See and Malta Howard Dee, and youth leader Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, said in their report that the BBL is “overwhelmingly acceptable” and “constitutional.”