Moro peace commission members visit Senate | Inquirer News

Moro peace commission members visit Senate

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 11:24 AM February 06, 2014

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to pass the  Bangsamoro basic law  before the  year ends,   Senate  President  Franklin  Drilon  announced on Thursday.

Drilon said the agreement was reached after the Senate leadership met with  its counterparts in the House led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

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“All of us agreed that the enactment of the Bangsamoro basic law should be made by the end of this year, by the end of December 2014. That is our target…”  the Senate leader  said after  a closed-door meeting  with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission led by Mohagher Iqbal.

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“We can try to act on it within the year, if possible… We discussed the Bangsamoro and we agreed to expedite it,” Belmonte told reporters in a separate interview at the House.

Secretary  Teresita “Ging” Deles,  presidential adviser on peace process,  and  Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate committee on peace, also attended the meeting.

During the meeting, Drilon said the  Transition Commission  committed to  submit its first draft of the basic law by March 31.

He said the Senate would then wait for the administration’s version of  the law, which the chamber expects to receive in the first week of May.

Drilon pointed out that the crafting of the law would not require an amendment to the Constitution.

“We emphasize to the Transition Commission that the Bangsamoro Basic Law BL should be within the four corners of the Constitution. That’s the commitment of the President…that there will be no Constitutional amendments necessary,” he said.

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“We’re not to saying the Bangsamo people can’t advocate for Charter change. What we’re just saying is that the basic law is not the avenue through which the amendments can be done  because Congress in a debate  on the basic law can’t propose amendments to the Constitution. We are limited on the four corners of the Constitution,” he pointed out.

Congress is rife with talks of a law that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the Bangsamoro entity after the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sealed a peace agreement that ended one of the longest Muslim secessionist movements in the country.

The basic law will be based on the comprehensive peace agreement to be signed by the MILF and the government.

The ARMM had been considered a failed experiment by critics especially after the peace pact with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which created the ARMM law, failed to prevent the MNLF-Nur Misuari faction from continuing the secessionist movement.

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Senate, House leaders agree to pass Bangsamoro law by year-end
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Belmonte hoping law for Bangsamoro entity will need no Charter amendments

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