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MM solon to defend Cotabato City’s sentiments on BBL in Congress

A public servant from Metro Manila has signified his support for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL, expressing belief that the draft law will bring greater development in the country.


During his visit to Cotabato City over the weekend, Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian said supporting the proposed peace pact will be beneficial to every Filipino as it would improve peace and security in the Philippines.


“Kahit po sabihin na kami ay taga-Luzon, kapag sinabi pong kapayapaan, lahat po tayo ay makikinabang po dito. Dito po sa Pilipinas, tayo pong lahat ay Filipino. Kaya ang kapayapaan ay hindi lang usapin ng mga taga-ARMM, kundi usapin nating lahat,” Gatchalian said.


In a meeting last Sunday, Gatchalian consulted Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani and 37 barangay captains from different localities in Mindanao about their sentiments on the proposed BBL, the final version of which is set to come out as soon as review of the draft is finished.


“Kaya nandito kami upang pakinggan ang mga saloobin at hinaing ng ating mga kababayan dito sa Cotabato. Dadalhin natin ‘yan sa kongreso, pag-aaralan at sisiguraduhin na, basta sa ikauunlad ng kapayapaan at Cotabato City, susuportahan natin,” he added.


Earlier, Gatchalian said the peace pact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF will not just be a fertile ground for the much-needed investments, but it will also pave the way for an environment that will allow economic development to begin in Mindanao.


The lawmaker is hoping that future investments will revitalize the Bangsamoro region and help foster inclusive growth by generating jobs.


He noted that the poverty incidence among families in the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM in 2012 has increased to 48.7 percent, up from 39.9 percent in 2009.


In a news report, MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar said they were “satisfied with the results of the ongoing talks” with the government on the proposed BBL.


Malacañang, for its part, said the President Aquino will give the draft priority before submitting it to Congress.


Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. added the President wanted to finish the draft law as soon as possible to realize the creation of the Bangsamoro Transitional Assembly for the Bangsamoro political entity that will be held alongside the May 2016 presidential and local elections.


The proposed BBL aims to lay down the principles for the establishment of an autonomous political entity for the Bangsamoro, as a way of recognizing their distinct history and aspirations as a distinct people.


If established, Bangsamoro would have the necessary powers to run its own government, including the powers necessary for taxation, availment of funds and the creation of wealth, and sharing of revenues from the utilization, development and exploitation of natural resources within its territory. (Tim Alcantara)