Draft BBL not watered down—Moro leader
Bangsamoro Transition Commission chair Ghadzali Jaafar has maintained that the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now being finalized by Congress is not “watered-down,” even as President Duterte himself had to break the impasse over one of the bill’s most contentious provisions.
“We don’t consider this as a watered-down BBL,” Jaafar said in a press briefing on Thursday, stressing that the proposed political entity would at least be better than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that it was seeking to replace.
“The BBL now as you see it, unless it is changed drastically, it is no longer ARMM-minus. It is ARMM-plus-plus-plus,” he said.
Jaafar made the remarks after Congress leaders sought President Duterte’s help in resolving the thorny issue of the scope of the Bangsamoro region.
The President opted to adopt the House of Representatives’ version, which would allow six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays of Cotabato to join the autonomous region only with the consent of the voters of the provinces to which they belong.
This is because the Constitution prohibits the alteration of a province’s bounds without approval in a plebiscite held throughout the political units that would be affected.
Jaafar, also the vice chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said they found President Duterte’s position acceptable.
“We love this President, we respect him so much, we listen to him… We consult him from time to time,” he said.
Jaafar said they wanted the towns and barangays in the two provinces to join the Bangsa-moro because they had been “part” of the armed struggle.
“We want to avoid [a situation where] they would say we were leaving them alone,” he said.
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