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Drilon warns: Issues hounding ARMM may hound new Bangsamoro territory

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Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon on Thursday said he is “not optimistic” that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will result in good governance.

He said that the landmark BBL, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), may succeed in bringing peace and stability in Mindanao but when it comes to the basic issue of good governance, there is “little chance” for success.

Drilon made the remark a day after the bicameral conference committee adopted a consolidated version of the measure that seeks to create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to be known as Bangsamoro Autonomous Region replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He lauded the bicam’s approval of the BBL but expressed concern at the bill’s lack of effective measures to address governance issues “hounding” soon to be replaced ARMM for decades.

“The failure of governance in the ARMM, not only the decades-long conflict, is also to be blame for the high incidence of poverty in the region,” Drilon said.

“The BBL is pro-peace peace and stability but it lacks teeth to reform the prevailing politics and governance in ARMM that resulted in its provinces being one of the poorest in the country,” he said.

He lamented that his proposed anti-dynasty provision, similar to that found in the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law, should have been incorporated in the BBL. The provision was struck down.

Drilon said that absence of this very powerful provision could put to naught other measures that Congress has put in place to promote good governance in the Bangsamoro region.

Among them are the provisions that promote accountability by maintaining Commission of Audit (CoA) as the exclusive auditor and tighten the qualification of Sharia’h courts justices.

The Bangsamoro government is also given the power to create government corporations but they should comply with the provisions of the GOCC (government-owned and controlled corporation) Governance Act.

It may also enact its own civil service rules that should be compliant with existing rules.

“Unfortunately, the future of the Bangsamoro region will be in the hands of a very few families again, because of our failure to prevent political dynasty,” Drilon said.

“Unless political dynasty is addressed, there are always threats of failure of governance in the ARMM,” he added.