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GPH okays retention of parliamentary system in draft BBL

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 16:36 PM Tue Aug 18, 2015
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OPAPP news release
GPH panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer

MANILA – The government peace panel that negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today lauded both the Ad Hoc House Committee chaired by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and the Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for retaining the proposed parliamentary form of government for the Bangsamoro region in its version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). We laud the two chambers of Congress for retaining the provisions establishing a parliamentary form of government in the region, seeing as it is crucial to the reforms we hope to put in place in the Bangsamoro,” government chief negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said.According to Ferrer, the parliamentary system is the most important structural change being introduced, and that it’s a shift well within the powers of Congress to grant since the Constitution left it up to Congress to define the structure of government in the autonomous region.”She noted, however, that while the House version retained the original proposal in the BBL, the Senate’s substitute bill radically altered the allocation of seats in the proposed Bangsamoro legislature.The original proposal allocated 24 seats in the Bangsamoro parliament to parliamentary districts, 30 seats to party lists and the remaining six seats to reserved seats for non-Moro indigenous peoples, settler communities, and women, among others.In the Senate version submitted by Senator Marcos’ committee, district representation was jacked up to 40 seats, reserved seats were increased to 12, and only eight seats were allocated for party lists.In both versions, 60 seats would make up the Bangsamoro parliament. Lopsided representation in favor of district representatives, presumably elected on the basis of plurality or highest number of votes, will perpetuate personalistic politics, clan dynasties and weak political parties,” said Ferrer. On the other hand, we believe that allocating more seats to regional political parties and sectoral representatives would encourage the practice and development of a political culture in the region that is based on broad-based political parties with defined programs of governance competing in free and fair elections,” Ferrer said.Ferrer appealed to senators to seriously reconsider the seat allocations in the regional parliament in order to ensure that new entrants in the electoral arena such as the erstwhile Moro liberation fronts, women’s groups, environmental advocates, and indigenous peoples will stand a good chance to win seats. Our goal with this parliamentary form of government as envisioned in the original BBL is to ensure inclusive and more participatory governance. Allocating a large majority of the seats of the Bangsamoro parliament for parties and marginalized sectors will encourage politics based on principles and not personalities. It will empower the different segments of the people in the Bangsamoro,” Ferrer explained.Ferrer said the government peace panel is ready to provide technical assistance to the Senate when floor debates start on the Bangsamoro bill to help provide insights on the intent of the proposed provisions in the original BBL, especially the rationale behind the proposed parliamentary form of government for the region.

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