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Zambo reiterates firm stand on BBL


Zamboangueños from all walks of life led by Mayor Beng Climaco, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and members of the City Council together with Congressman Celso Lobregat and Congressman Mannix Dalipe literally stood up united yesterday and declared in one voice their firm, consistent and unequivocal stand against any move to include Zamboanga City in the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region that will be established under the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

No less than Senate President Koko Pimentel and Senator Migs Zubiri, chairman of the Subcommittee on BBL, repeatedly assured the thousands of Zamboangueños that Zamboanga City or part thereof including its municipal waters will not be included in the Bangsamoro Government.

At the public hearing, Climaco read the city's position paper, detailing point by point the BBL provisions that are legally and constitutionally disadvantageous to Zamboanga City

Also present were Senators Cynthia Villar, Riza Hontiveros,  Sherwin Gatchalian, Sonny Angara and JV Estrada together with Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and the entire Bangsamoro Transition Commission headed by MILF First Vice Chair  Gadzali Jaafar.

In his statement, Jaafar considered his visit to the City his first and historic since 1965. We came for peace and peace we offer you,” Jaafar told the assembly with special mention to Mayor Climaco and Rep. Celso Lobregat during the almost 3-hour Senate hearing on the BBL held at the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College in Baliwasan.

For his part, Zubiri assured Zamboanguenos in this wise: “Don’t worry, don’t panic. Zamboanga City is not and never will be included.”

It can be recalled that ever since  the City of Zamboanga has  clearly  stood firm against any inclusion to the political entity of the proposed expanded Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the past .

And with the proposed expansion of the ARMM under the proposed BBL, Climaco, Lobregat and Dalipe have again sounded the stand of the Zamboangueños against any inclusion to the BBL stressing that ever since Zamboanga City has always opted not to be part of the BBL even with the previous Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The three top city officials, however, said that the people of Zamboanga support the peace process and the proposed BBL but they only want to make it certain that  Zamboanga City  shall never be part of the Autonomous Region. (Vic Larato & Jemuel E. Mojica)

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