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Persistent Zamboanga solon finally introduces changes to BBL after two days


It was a victory two days in the making.

Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat broke into a wide smile Tuesday afternoon while his colleagues cheered and clapped after his suggested amendment to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was approved — a first since the voting started Monday.

None of the members of the House ad hoc committee on the BBL present at the second day of voting opposed Lobregat’s motion to delete the names of tribes enumerated in Article 7, Section 6 of the bill, which states the rules regarding the election for reserved seats for non-Moro indigenous peoples (IPs).

The original BBL draft enumerated the tribes that could participate in the election for reserved seats for non-Moro IPs as including the Teduray, Lambangian, Dulangan, Manobo, B’laan and Higaonon.

Lobregat, however, said the names of the tribes which could qualify for the reserved seats should be deleted to make the electoral process “more inclusive.”

After his proposal won, the outspoken lawmaker stood up and waved to his colleagues in apparent recognition of his successful introduction of an amendment to the Bangsamoro bill.

A lawmaker was overheard as saying that the revised clause should be called the “Lobregat amendment.”

Since Monday, Lobregat has been proposing countless amendments to various sections of the BBL, but all of them were thumbed down by his colleagues.

Incredulous at the administration allies’ alleged resolve to thumb down Lobregat’s various proposals, an exasperated Davao Oriental Rep. Thelma Almario said on Monday: "No matter how logical Lobregat's the motions are, it always gets lost.The numbers are always the same. How long will we be going through this exercise?”

Lobregat's amendments

Following the approval of Lobregat’s amendment on non-Moro IPs’ participation in the elections, the House panel subsequently moved to accept three of the changes he proposed.

These are:

-- The deletion of Article 7 Section 10 regarding the Budget for the Bangsamoro Electoral Office
-- Replacing the figures of actual salaries members of the Bangsamoro parliament will receive with salary grades. Under Lobregat’s proposal, the Chief Minister would be under Salary Grade 31, the Deputy Chief Ministers, SG 28, while parliament members will be under SG 27. (Article 7 Section 13)
-- Designation of the older deputy chief minister as the temporary successor of the Chief Minister in case of death removal from office, resignation or incapacity of the latter, and requiring the election of new chief minister within 72 hours in case of vacancy in case of within 30 days. The panel earlier approved a motion to designate two deputy chief ministers for the Bangsamoro region. (Article 7, Sec. 33)

After his proposal to name the more senior deputy chief minister as the interim Chief Minister won, a visibly elated Lobregat quipped: “Naka-quota na ako.”

As of 2:40 p.m., none of Lobregat’s subsequent amendments have been approved.

Other minor changes that have been made to the Bangsamoro bill since the start of Tuesday’s voting included:

-- The restoration of the description of the Bangsamoro government’s powers as provided in the original BBL draft, and deletion of phrase “subject to the framework of the Constitution” in Article 7, Section 2;
-- Restoration of the provision giving the Bangsamoro government exclusive power over the Bangsamoro settlement (Article 4 Section 3);
-- Making the protection of IPs a concurrent power from being an exclusive power of Bangsamoro government (Article 4 Section 3)

—KBK, GMA News