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BARMM sees full implementation of CAB in Charter Change

COTABATO CITY—Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament is positive that the expanded powers of the regional government will be reflected in the Philippine Constitution once it is amended.
On Wednesday, the Bangsamoro Parliament expressed its support for amending the 1987 Philippine Constitution to completely implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) through a resolution.
BTA Resolution No. 521 underscored the need for a Charter Change (Cha-Cha)—the amendment or revision of the Constitutional Law—to resolve constitutional issues for the full enforcement and comprehensive implementation of the peace agreement.
The CAB, which will be commemorated for its 10th anniversary on March 27, is the final peace accord between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that ceased decades of armed conflict, resulting in long-lasting peace in the Bangsamoro region.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, BTA Parliament Speaker Atty. Pangalian M. Balindong and Member of Parliament Mohagher Iqbal are the main proponents of said resolution, highlighting the concerns that cannot be catered to by the present constitutional regime. This was supported by 10 other Bangsamoro parliamentarians.
Atty. Balindong emphasized yesterday in his speech that the “best way” to resolve strife and bolster the economy of the BARMM is through genuine autonomy.
“What is therefore needed is to expand the scope of the powers of the regional government in the next constitution,” he stressed.
As stated in the document, “Amending the 1987 Constitution […] is a prudent and responsible course of action, ensuring that the Bangsamoro people are afforded the rights, autonomy, and resources they are entitled under the peace accord.”
“I would like to see the barest minimum expanded powers of the regional government in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) reflected in the new constitutional franchise,” he expressed.
Among the proposed amendments are the following: power-sharing agreement, defining the powers reserved to the National Government, Bangsamoro Government, and both entities; Sharia Justice System; policing in the Bangsamoro; supervision and control of the regional government over its local government units (LGUs); delineation of powers of the Constitutional bodies vis-à-vis regional government; and the qualification of the Chief Minister (CM).
“It is our duty to ensure that our gains in the peace process are cemented in the proposed changes, and not merely a subject of a legislative act,” Balindong continued.
During the February 8 Constitution Day celebration in Makati City, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. clarified that the proposed amendments in the 1987 Constitution are limited only to the economic provisions stipulated therein.
“I want to make it clear. This Administration’s position in introducing reforms to our Constitution extends to economic matters alone, or those strategically aimed at boosting our country’s economy. Nothing more,” said Pres. Marcos.
Meanwhile, MP Iqbal, who is also the implementing panel chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said in an interview that the Bangsamoro leaders will assert the full implementation of the CAB.
He said while the relationship with the national government has been good, there are still issues that need to be discussed.
“As leaders, we are already part of the Government. But Being part of the government does not mean that we have to give up what has been agreed by the [national] government and the MILF through the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” Iqbal said.
He explained it is evident that the BOL did not fully capture the CAB, and that only about 85% has been implemented.
“We will assert that. Kailangang maisakatuparan iyan,” Iqbal stressed.
The resolution further stressed that the amendment will lay better foundations to guarantee the holistic development of the Bangsamoro region and its constituents. (Johamin Inok/BIO)


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