Public misinformed about BBL – Ferrer

Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A survey showing that 44 percent of Filipinos are against the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is based on the views of a public misinformed about the contents of the bill, government peace panel chief Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said yesterday.

Ferrer issued the statement in reaction to the Pulse Asia survey, which found that 4 in 10 Filipinos reject the BBL, with the highest level of disagreement found among Mindanao residents at 62 percent.

The survey also showed that 21 percent of Filipinos support its passage, while 36 percent remain undecided.

“Public awareness on the BBL is based on misinformation on the actual contents of the BBL,” she said.

“If you ask people if they want the Bangsamoro to have a separate police and army and not be audited by COA (Commission on Audit), naturally they will say no. If you ask them if they want the Bangsamoro to separate from the country, you will get the same answer,” she added.

Ferrer said the people’s fear is not what is indicated in the BBL.

“That is not what the BBL says. What the BBL provides is the exact opposite. We hope that the mass media will help us correct all these misinformation,” she said.

The Pulse Asia survey was conducted from March 1 to 7, more than a month after the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that resulted in the deaths of 44 Special Action Force commandos, 18 Moro rebels and five civilians.

The proposed law seeks to create a new autonomous government in Mindanao.

Presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Quintos-Deles earlier said the government would launch a massive information campaign to convince more Filipinos to understand and support the BBL.

Deles said that while 44 percent of Filipinos said they disagreed with the BBL, a high percentage said they are undecided on their position.

“It means that many have not made up their minds and would benefit from an intensified information on the BBL,” she said.

‘No Plan B in pursuing peace’

There is no “Plan B” so far when it comes to pursuing peace in Mindanao amid the constitutional issues surrounding the passage of the BBL.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has acknowledged the government’s need to craft a Plan B in case the BBL does not hurdle Congress.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB that the government remained focused on the proposed BBL because it was a product and “reflection of the agreements” signed between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Valte said it would be better to determine first how the BBL could be improved by members of Congress.

The House of Representatives is set to resume executive sessions on the BBL on April 20. – With Aurea Calica


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