BBL favors only MILF, says ex-senator Pimentel

BBL favors only MILF, says ex-senator Pimentel

Thursday, September 07, 2017

By RUTH ABBEY GITA

The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would only be beneficial to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said Thursday as he pushes anew to change the form of government from presidential to federal.

“My concern about the BBL is the fact that it actually tends to favor only one of the major armed units or armed groups in Mindanao challenging the government, and that is the MILF. I’m speaking very frankly,” Pimentel, a long-time advocate of federalism, said in a press conference.

The draft BBL, which is yet to be sponsored by Congress, seeks to establish a new autonomous Bangsamoro entity.

But under the proposed federalism, Pimentel said 12 existing administrative regions would be set up as autonomous states with greater power over administration and resources.

Pimentel indicated that federal state is way better than the proposed Moro law.

“There’s a difference there because they (MILF) want to establish a federal system in that particular part of the country, which would be very awkward,” the former senator said.

“We are following a presidential type of government and yet, it would now allow a portion of our state to be run like a parliamentary state, a federal unit [through draft BBL]. That perhaps is not good,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly pushed for federalism rather than the draft BBL, even though he said it remains a priority measure.

Pimentel, however, stressed that proposed BBL, as promised by the President, would be part of the shift to a federal form of government.

“My point here is the proposals of the BBL for the dissipation of the Muslim unrest in Mindanao will be totally adopted by the federal system. But there will be modifications in the kind of rise that will be accorded to the Muslim people,” he said.

Pimentel noted that there would be five federal states in Luzon (Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Cordilleras, Bicol, Southern Tagalog); four in Visayas (Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Minparom, covering Mindoro Occidental, Palawan, Romblon, Marinduque); and three in Mindanao (Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Bangsamoro).

Meanwhile, Metro Manila will be the capital of the federal state, he said.

“Let me go straight to the point: Our proposal for the adoption of a federal system is designed to disperse power mainly from the central government to the various federal states, and therefore, also to the local governments composing the federal state. How many federal states will be created? Twelve,” Pimentel said. (SunStar Philippines)

Original post: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2017/09/08/bbl-favors-only-milf-says-ex-senator-pimentel-562801

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