Bongbong: Amend ARMM law instead of current BBL

“I think there are systemic weaknesses in the ARMM system. So what do we do? We fix it. There’s no need to throw out the baby with the bath water, as they say. We look at the system, see where the failings are, the weaknesses are, and fix those,” Senator Bongbong Marcos said in a news release.

He said one option he is considering in crafting a substitute bill to the flaw-ridden draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law is to simply amend the organic act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In his privilege speech delivered in Senate last week, he said he cannot support the BBL in its current form.

“We have amended already the organic law for ARMM once. That was a step in the right direction. So let’s make more steps in the right direction,” the senator said. “And so a solution around that will be to say this is merely an amendment of the existing law. That dispenses with that argument questioning the constitutionality of the law.”

Marcos said he will try to address in the substitute bill the various issues raised against the draft BBL to ensure the version he would present to the plenary would not only stand the test of constitutionality, address the concern of major stakeholders, and practical enough to work towards the goal of achieving a lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao.

“We are creating an entirely unique form of local government which we never conceived of before. And so that is why we have to be very very careful in what we are doing because we might cause more problems than we are trying to solve,” he said.

In an interview today, Senate President Franklin Drilon said opt-in provision in BBL is not necessary. “I will not agree that the opt-in provision should be there, because that fans the mistrust between our brother Muslims and Christians in the South.”