Aquino wants a Bangsamoro basic law he can endorse ‘with conviction’
MANILA, Philippines – Saying he wanted to push the Bangsamoro Basic Law “with conviction,” President Benigno Aquino III has made it clear that the document would have to be “consistent” with the historic peace agreement signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last March 27.
In a meeting with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) last week, the President called for open-mindedness between members of both the Philippine government and MILF panels.
“Let us approach this drafting of the proposed BBL with an open mind, see if everything is consistent with the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro], and limit the potential challenges,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma quoted the President as saying on Sunday.
“Let us put ourselves in each other’s shoes. Mula sa ‘kayo’ at ‘kami’, ibalik natin sa ‘tayo. (From ‘you’ and ‘we’, let’s bring it back to ‘us’).’”
The meeting last Thursday was arranged amid differences over provisions of the draft BBL, which was prepared by the BTC and submitted for Malacañang’s review last April.
The Palace failed to meet its May 5 deadline to submit the draft BBL for congressional scrutiny and approval. Last week, chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the draft would likely be still unavailable for submission on Monday (July 28), the resumption of Congress session.
“I want to be able to push this [Bangsamoro Basic Law] with conviction,” the President was quoted as saying in a Palace press statement.
Coloma said Aquino urged members of the BTC to “work together to reach an understanding and ensure that the BBL would be consistent with the contents” of the CAB.
Reading from a copy of MILF chairman Murad Ibrahim’s speech during the CAB signing last March, the President reminded the group: ““After all, the CAB is not only for the MILF, but also for the MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front], for all Muslim ethnic tribes, Christian settlers, and indigenous peoples.”
Once differences over the draft BBL are settled, the plan is for Aquino to certify a proposed bill as urgent. The BBL, which would have to pass in a plebiscite later on, would pave the way for a new autonomous region in Mindanao.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.