Zamboanga bizmen decry ‘tyranny’ in BBL voting

Bangsamoro Basic Law hearings are held at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, the headquarters of the Philippine House of Representatives, in Quezon City. Pictured is the West Front of the main congressional building.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines Business leaders scored pro-administration congressmen in the House ad hoc committee for allegedly railroading the voting process for amendments to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The businessmen were also concerned that the BBL may not pass the scrutiny of the Supreme Court and may trigger further conflict in Mindanao.

They also slammed the undue influence of pro-administration and pro-Bangsamoro law representatives for exercising the “tyranny of majority” in the voting processs.

“It is a sold-out peace. This is a glaring example the members of Congress were not respecting the voice of the people. Remember ‘salus populi suprema lex’ or ‘vox populi vox’ (the voice of the people is the voice of God),” said Pedro Rufu Soliven, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) regional chairman for Western Mindanao.

Soliven said the House panel wasted people’s taxes in going around for the public hearing but disregarded the proposals.

Soliven said they believed that after the crucial meeting called by Aquino in Malacaaang with administration congressmen in the House panel, “it is safe to say it (voting) is sold out.”

Businessmen are also very concerned about the territory provisions of the BBL which will affect industries in Western Mindanao, Soliven said.

He said the territory provisions of the proposed BBL are “not in harmony” to the Zamboanga’s position as an agri-marine fisheries corridor, Soliven added.

“The current (BBL) provision if not rectified will be running contrary and counterproductive to what we are trying to promote and develop our peninsula,” Soliven said.

Businessman Bong Ramos said, meanwhile, Aquino must reconsider his position in rushing the peace agreement.

“It was a heartbreaking scene seeing them raising their hands even if the provision they asserted was clearly unconstitutional,” Soliven said.

Solivan stressed that despite opposition to the process in the Lower House, they are supportive of a constitutionally sound BBL with the stamp of approval of the Supreme Court.

Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat had been proposing amendments to the new, Palace-drafted version of the law, but his motions are being voted against by ad hoc committee members.

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