Press Release
September 12, 2014

BBL to undergo close scrutiny; power, wealth
sharing are contentious issues -- Pimentel

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would undergo close scrutiny as any other bill since it involves the sharing of powers and wealth between the national government and the proposed Bangsamoro regional government.

In welcoming the submission of the BBL to Congress by President Aquino himself, Pimentel said he would particularly look at its provisions alongside the Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991, especially on its structure, functions and political powers.

"What is important is for everyone to keep an open mind and listen to all stakeholders so that the discussions will remain constructive, sober, and democratic," the senator from Mindanao said.

He expressed confidence that "every senator will do his or her homework because we appreciate the critical importance of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law to the people of Mindanao."

"Our objective is clear: how to advance peace and development in Mindanao through legislation in a manner that is fair, inclusive, and of course, constitutional," said Pimentel, adding he would see to it that the rights of all stakeholders are protected under the Bangsamoro.

He said the final submission of the BBL to Congress after years of negotiations was already a "leap of faith" on the part of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) whose participation in the legal process "signifies a huge turnaround" for the biggest and most organized secessionist group.

Pimentel said his legal team had already begun looking at the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro even before it was submitted to Congress, stressing the historical significance of the BBL which is seen as the final solution to decades of fighting in the island.

Critics have openly questioned some key provisions of the draft BBL on constitutional grounds, but Pimentel said the anticipated debates on the legitimacy of the Bangsamoro is "surely a big step in the right direction" to end 68 years of neglect and bloodshed in the region.

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