By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Region draft can not be used as a template for the Cordillera organic act, said Atty. Armi Beatriz Bayot of the office of the Solicitor General.
Bayot, also a member of the legal team of the Government negotiating Panel for peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) spoke about the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law during the Kapihan sa Baguio on January 15.
Bayot stressed that the circumstance and experience of the Cordillera People is different from that of the Bangsamoro. She said there may be similarities but there are many differences in culture and historical context between the two regions.
Bayot explained that a basic law is a government structure which is the same with an organic act. She said that for a government structure to function properly, it must address the needs of its constituency. She added that the Cordillera and Bangsamoro having a different historical experience and circumstances also have particular needs.
“Let us not see the Bangsamoro law as a cut and paste template for the Cordillera organic act,” she reiterated.
Bayot underscored that the draft Bangsamoro law is the fruit of over 500 consultations with different sectors that include the MILF, indigenous peoples, civil society and others.
She explained that before the drafting of the law, the technical working group consulted as many sectors as possible to gather their inputs and suggestions.
She admitted that it would be impossible to be able to consult everybody. But she said that they made sure that all concerned sectors were represented in the consultations. “It is impossible to talk to everyone but it is possible to identify the people who can represent the majority of the people,” she said.
Baguio Congressman Nicasio Aliping said it would be helpful to study the Bangsamoro law for the improvement of the Cordillera organic act. “For example the power sharing provisions,” he said.
Aliping further said that the Cordillera organic act is a continuing process that started with the earlier drafts that failed. He added that consultations are continuing to ensure the representation of all concerned sectors.
There are only eight session days remaining before the 16th congress closes. Aliping said the Bangsamoro law would be a priority bill. “For as long as we could achieve a quorum, the Bangsamoro law would be passed,” he said.
Aliping said that the period of interpolation is already finished and they will now look into amendments to the draft Bangsamoro law when they resume session on January 18. He said it would take them around two to three sessions to finish the amendments.
Bayot is hopeful that the congress and senate would be able to come up with a harmonized version before the 16th congress closes. # nordis.net