THE proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now undergoing deliberations in both houses of Congress, needs to be clear on its provisions specifically on the transition period, a member of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said.

ARMM assemblyman Abol Alam Padate (2nd district Lanao del Sur) said he is very much in favor of the BBL.

“However, I stand here as a representative of the people and with the mandate that they have provided me – the mandate, which is to promote and protect the rights of the people,” he said.

Padate on March 7 has filed 'A Resolution Urging the Senate and the House of Representatives to Improve and Enhance the Language of the Proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, Specifically the Provisions Pertaining to the Transition Period' at ARMM’s legislative assembly.

Paragraph 7 of the resolution said it is prudent and logical for the future Bangsamoro government to rehire the current ARMM employees since these employees already possess the skills and experience needed for the positions required.

“The proposed BBL should clearly stipulate that the qualified employees being referred to in the bill are the ARMM employees and that they shall be given priority in the rehiring process,” the succeeding paragraph in the resolution said.

In his speech to introduce the resolution he submitted, Padate said a gradual phaseout in the front-line services in the ARMM could have adverse effects on the administration of the emerging region.

Reports from the region’s ARMM’s Department of Health, he said, state there is a dire need for hospital beds and health personnel.

“In fact, there is only one (hospital) bed for every 4,200 people. The need for public health doctors and workers is urgent and yet, we plan to phase them out gradually?” he asked.

The ARMM, he added, lags, compared with other regions, in education and literacy rate noting DepEd ARMM is the biggest employer in the region with over 30,000 teachers.

“The grave impact that the transition period may have on our students should carefully be considered. The future of the Bangsamoro lies in our youth,” he said.

“The ARMM employees’ rights to security of tenure should be clearly stipulated in the proposed BBL. While it does say there that qualified employees may reapply and shall be given priority, it is still subject to different interpretations,” he said.

“Let it be clear that we are referring to the qualified ARMM employees. It’s a minor enhancement to the Senate version language. It should not be so difficult,” he said. (PR)