IN what tends to show he doesn’t stop working just because Congress is not in session, Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon identified significant differences between the Senate and the House of Representative’s versions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Drilon said the Senate and the House will have to work hard to reconcile their differences pertaining to the share in national government taxes collected in the Bangsamoro, other than tariff and customs duties.
The House proposed 25% share for national government and 75% for Bangsamoro, while the Senate version wanted a 50-50 sharing.
Drilon sees this as among the contentious issues that both chambers should be able to iron out.
Also among the sticky issues, Drilon added, is the prohibition on political dynasties, which is highly opposed by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). The Senate version prohibits a party representative from being related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to a District Representative or another Party Representative in the same Parliament. There is no counterpart provision in the House version.
The Senate also provided a qualification on the block grant which states that when national government incurs an unmanageable public sector deficit, the President of the Philippines is authorized, upon the recommendation of the DOF and DBM secretaries to make the necessary adjustments in the block grant. The House version does not contain such a provision.
The Senate version also contains a provision preventing the Bangsamoro Parliament to include the procurement of firearms, ammunition and explosives in its annual appropriations law. The House version does not contain such a provision.
The Senate and the House also differ in the establishment of the Bangsamoro police. The Senate proposed detailed provisions on the Bangsamoro Regional Police, including that a regional director should be selected by the Chief Minister from a list of nominees submitted by the PNP Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board and approved by PNP Chief, confirmed by the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
In the House version, it is the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government who will appoint the regional director.
In relation, the Senate proposed that Chief Minister should sit as ex-officio commissioner of the Napolcom on Bangsamoro Police matters. This provision is absent in the House version.
The Senate also removed a provision for the creation of Shari’ah Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which will recommend nominees to the Shari’ah Courts. The House retained such provision.
The Senate’s version maintains the 39 municipalities in North Cotabato as part of the territorial jurisdisction of the Bangsamoro, which will replace the current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), once the bill is signed into law and ratified in a plebiscite, according to Drilon.
The House’s version, on the other hand, deletes the 39 municipalities as part of the core areas that comprise the Bangsamoro.
Drilon said this could be a sticking point that both chambers should be able to smooth out when it goes to the bicameral conference committee for reconciliation.
The minority leader proposed various amendments to the Senate version “in order make sure that the measure will not suffer the same fate as the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).”
Drilon proposed changes to powers of the Bangsamoro government, which the Senate adopted, deleting provisions pertaining to the reserved, concurrent and exclusive powers of the Bangsamo government and removing the powers to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation and subpoena powers of the Parliament.
The House, meanwhile, retained the provisions on reserved, concurrent and exclusive powers.
In the House version, the province of Palawan is included in the list of areas considered as historically part of Bangsamoro territory. The Senate, however, removed the reference to Palawan.
The Senate also added a provision stating that the Bangsamoro People are citizens of the Philippines pursuant to Article IV of the Constitution, an amendment pushed by Drilon. The said provision is absent in the House version.