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Ex-Sulu gov warns BBL draft set for failure

JOLO, Sulu - The former governor of Sulu on Thursday warned that the present draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) may be set for “failure” if the creation of the new autonomous region will be “forcibly insisted” on those eyed to be under the covered territory.

“The present [proposal] deviates and attempts to construct a monolithic whole from the forcible assassination of the minority who may choose to vote negatively based on different persuasions vis-a-vis the creation of the BBL. This, then, is a guarantee towards the road to failure,” former Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan Sr. said in his position paper submitted to the Senate subcommittee on the BBL.

The Senate subcommittee led by Senator Miguel Zubiri held a public hearing here before proceeding to Tawi-Tawi. It is also scheduled to hold consultations in Basilan and Zamboanga on Friday.



Tan argued that the creation of the Bangsamoro region cannot be based only on simple plurality rule.

Under the draft BBL, the establishment of the Bangsamoro and the determination of its territory shall take effect upon ratification of the basic law by majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite.

The envisioned territory covers the present area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; several municipalities in the province of Lanao del Norte, 39 barangays in several North Cotabato municipalities, cities of Cotabato and Isabela, and those qualified for the inclusion in the plebiscite by way of resolution or petition.

The proposal states that “if the majority of the votes cast in the entirety of ARMM voted in favor” of the law, then all provinces and cities of the ARMM shall be part of the Bangsamoro.

For Tan, such provision will “result into a hostage situation of those who would participate in a plebiscite called for the purpose of ascertaining their true will, then proceeding to railroad acceptance of what they would have potentially rejected.”

“Socio-cultural differences between and among Muslim communities and voting provinces may just be the unrecognized factor why previous efforts failed in the first place. There can never be absolute homogeneity in a genuine and true democracy due to the inherent but unique nuances of each and every Muslim province especially thriving in an archipelagic state such as ours,” he pointed out.

Acting governor Nurunisah Tan, son of the former governor, also echoed his father’s statement.

The younger Tan said they do not want to be blamed by the future generations if the promised benefits of creating a Bangsamoro region is not fulfilled.

“Ayaw namin masisi na bukas makalawa. Kung maganda resulta, walang problema, pero kapag hindi maganda ang results, baka magkaroon ng problema…Baka bukas makalawa, kasalanan ng inyong mga lolo,” he told the subcommittee.

Regional Trial Court Judge Grace Tillah said the province of Sulu should be given freedom of speech.

“Do not force me [into joining Bangsamoro] by the vote of other areas,” she told the subcommittee.

Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Commissioner Jose Lorena said each provision cannot be submitted for the approval of the people.

“We are writing a basic act, not an individual legislation,” Lorena said.

Zubiri, who has committed to have the BBL passed in the Senate on third and final reading, said an opt-out provision in the BBL will be a “step backwards to peace.”

Senator Sonny Angara, for his part, promised that the BBL envisions an entity that is “more inclusive and more autonomous as it devolves more power to the local government units.” —KG, GMA News