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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pro, anti-BBL groups agree to support peace

By Franklin P. Gumapon

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Today’s public hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the city has gathered both the supporters and “foes” of the said bill in one roof – all agreeing to support peace, but disagreeing with the means to achieving it.

Public hearing on sensitive issues like the BBL would often become emotionally charged especially when the speakers started to perorate their personal sentiments and sad experiences. However, the consultation has allowed all groups – pro or anti-BBL – to present their stand on the issue.

Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Senate committee on local government chair, was astute in presiding over the gathering, allowing a free intercourse of ideas and opinions on the BBL.

Congressman Celso Lobregat of the city’s first congressional district emphasized that he is for peace but he is not in favor of including Zamboanga City in the Bangsamoro government.

Second district Representative Lilia Nuño, on the other hand, said, “we want the BBL to passed within the framework of the Constitution.”

Moreover, Basilan Governor Jum Akbar has expressed her strong support to the passage of the BBL saying, “we want a lasting peace, we are pro-BBL, we are pro-peace.”

When one of the speakers lambasted Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, accusing him of being anti-BBL, Senator Marcos retorted that Senator Cayetano was just raising legitimate issues surrounding the BBL. “Ninanais namin na pagagandahin ang BBL (we want to improve on the BBL) and the draft BBL is a legislation that is not yet final. That is why we are conducting this public hearing,” Marcos explained.

The BBL public hearing, which was jointly sponsored by the Senate committees on local government and peace, unification and reconciliation, was attended by local officials, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, youth, media and other stakeholders.

Marcos said there are still more public hearings on the BBL to be held within the month.