Palawan First District Congressman Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez has confirmed that Palawan representatives will oppose the inclusion of Palawan in the Bansamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is scheduled for filing in the plenary this week.
Alvarez said that he and Congressmen Gil P. Acosta (3rd district) and Frederick F. Abueg (2nd district) will submit a position paper to the committee where the BBL matters will be referred to proactively voice out the sentiments of Palaweños and block the inclusion of Palawan in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
“We will support the BBL but ‘wag isama ang Palawan. Naka dalawang plebisito na tayo before at ayaw nating masama ang Palawan,” Alvarez said.
Despite the insistent stance of Palawan representatives against the inclusion, in the current version of the proposed law, the name of the province is still part of some provisions which according to Alvarez they wanted to make sure that even a mention about Palawan in the document should be extracted.
“Mahirap kasi na ma mention man lang kasi subject to interpretation,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez is optimistic that the Committee will finally listen and respect the stand of Palaweños on BBL.
BBL is an organic act which sought to establish a proposed new autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The Basic Law would have provided for the basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, and enacted the agreements set forth in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which is the peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The provincial legislature in July has passed a resolution expressing Palawan’s opposition to its inclusion in the new independent region.
Rep. Gil Acosta (3rd district, Palawan) said that even Muslims in Palawan have expressed opposition in the inclusion of the province, pointing out to the outcomes of previous plebiscites held in the province over Moro autonomous regions.
“It is on this basis that the three of us are opposing it and we want to explain this to President Duterte,” Acosta said.
Rep. Eric Abueg (2nd district, Palawan) in earlier interview of Palawan News pointed out that there had been four plebiscites held in Palawan during the terms of then President Ferdinand Marcos, Fidel Ramos and Benigno Aquino Jr., wherein the negative votes cast “were more than eighty-five percent (85%) of the total votes.”
Abueg formally manifested his views by filing a House Resolution 1514, which directs the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL “to exclude the province of Palawan and the city of Puerto Princesa in the proposed Bangsamoro entity.”
He noted that the total population of Palawan, including the City of Puerto Princesa, as of the 2010 census conducted by the National Statistics Office is 994,340, with the Muslim population consisting of only seven to eight percent.