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Jaafar believes bicam version of BBL is not watered-down

/ 05:16 PM July 12, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte; Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs; and Atty. Randolf Parcasio of the MNLF talks during the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fitr in Davao City in this file photo. PPD photo / Rene B. Lumawag

Congress’ bicameral panel’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not watered-down, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chair Ghazali Jaafar said on Thursday.

Jaafar, who is also vice chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) central committee, said this a day after the bicameral conference panel on BBL decided to adopt House’s proposed provision on the Bangsamoro territory and plebiscite, which states that local government units may join the envisioned region only if their mother province or town would also vote in favor of inclusion.

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The decision came after President Rodrigo Duterte, along with his other legal men, convinced both chambers of Congress that it would be unconstitutional not to allow the mother provinces of the six municipalities of Lanao Del Norte and the 39 barangays of North Cotabato to vote on their inclusion to the Bangsamoro territory.

READ: Congress adopts House provision on Bangsamoro inclusion

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“We don’t consider this as a watered-down BBL… The BBL now as you see it, unless it is changed drastically, it is no longer ARMM-minus. It is ARMM+++…” Jaafar told reporters before the resumption of BBL bicameral panel conference in the House.

“We hope, we pray the bicameral conference will not change what has been… discussed and approved,” he added.

Jaafar also said that although Congress failed to allow the inclusion of the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and the 39 barangays of North Cotabato to the envisioned Bangsamoro region, they “respect the process of lawmaking” and believe in the reasoning of the President.

“Time and again sinasabi po natin, we love this President, we respect him so much, we listen to him, he’s a brother, he’s from Mindanao… Naniniwala kami sa reason ng mahal naming Pangulo,” he said.

Under the House provision in House Bill 6475, the six Lanao del Norte towns and 39 Cotabato villages can only join the Bangsamoro region if the majority of voters in their provinces agree to let them.

Meanwhile, under Senate’s version of the BBL, or Senate Bill No. 1717, the villages and towns can join the envisioned Bangsamoro region once their residents vote in favor of their inclusion through a plebiscite. /jpv

READ: Moro leaders prefer opt-in provision in Senate version of BBL / BTC lawyer insists on including 39 villages, 6 towns in Bangsamoro region

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, BBL, Congress, duterte, Jaafar, MILF
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