BBL CERTAIN: Only way to disarm Moro groups, says Zubiri 

MILF fighters in their camp in Barangay Bualan, Balindong town in Lanao del Sur. Mindanews File Photo / Froilan Gallardo
MILF fighters in their camp in Barangay Bualan, Balindong town in Lanao del Sur. Mindanews File Photo / Froilan Gallardo

Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri on Saturday predicted a smooth sailing for the Bangsa Moro Basic Law once its goes on third and final reading on March 21.

“So far so good,” he said, after addressing the 1st Petron Dealers Association Mindanao Convention in Davao City.

He said the passage of the law is the only way to disarm the various Moro armed groups and to bring about peace and stability in the island of Mindanao.

He said that once the technical working group comes up with its committee report, he would immediately move for the passage of the basic law.

“Give it three weeks for the period of debate before it is certified into a law,” he said.

Upon approval, the new autonomous region will be provided for the year 2019 with a ‘block grant’ of P72 billion without need for appropriation. The current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao gets P32billion annually.

In contrast, Region X1 gets P79 billion while Region 10 is appropriated P81billion.

Zubiri, the principal author of the bill, said the new set-up will adopt a parliamentary form of government with 80 members of parliament who will choose their chief minister.

The third major feature of the bill is an option to go in  (Op-In) mechanism that would allow Mindanao regions with Muslim communities to choose whether or not they would want to become part of the new political set-up.

Finally, it provides the region fiscal autonomy in so far as taxation and generation of revenues is concerned.

“Hence, the BBL is both an instrument of peace  and the best way to convince the various Moro armed groups not to take up arms,” he said.

Under the proposed BBL, those pinpointed to join the new region are the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawitawi.

He said efforts are underway to convince the various Moro armed groups to abide by the new region once approved.