OPAPP pushing to craft ‘more inclusive’ BBL replacement
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration is pushing for “a more inclusive” law that would replace the junked Bangsamoro Basic Law as it hopes for a comprehensive enforcement of the peace agreement without leaving any sector behind.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Sec. Jesus Dureza said this on Tuesday as he presented before the Senate his office’s P8.062-billion proposed budget for 2017, “a thousand-fold” increase from the current year as the peace agency is poised to take on P7.073 billion in development projects under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) initiative to develop conflict-affected areas.
“What we’re doing now is, because we have pending agreements other than the one with the MILF, with the new law to be proposed in Congress which will replace the BBL, it will already be inclusive,” Dureza told reporters Tuesday morning.
Dureza said the new bill aims to include provisions of the government’s 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front and Republic Act 9054, the 2001 or the law that amended the measure creating ARMM, as it is the autonomous region that would be replaced by the Bangsamoro entity to be created.
He hopes the bill would be crafted soon, with a bigger Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) expected to be constituted through an Executive Order. The BTC is the body that would draft the bill.
Dureza said the MILF has already agreed to reactivate the BTC with 21 members from the original 15 getting 11 slots. It has also agreed with the proposal for the government to include the MNLF and possibly representatives from Mindanao sultanates among the state’s 10 nominees.
“So you will see that our approach is for inclusivity. The MILF has agreed to increase (the membership of the) mechanism (the BTC)… We can get the MILF… Then we’ll get also the ARMM law as it will be coherent with the enabling law to be converged also,” he said.
That way, Dureza said, the new law will be “for all Bangsamoro.”
He said the draft law will also “park” contentious constitutional matters that had drawn opposition of the failed BBL.
The last Congress failed to pass the BBL, the law that would enact the final peace deal that the Aquino administration signed with the MILF. While the measure is already dead, several petitions meanwhile remain pending before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the bill.
President Duterte has made it his administration’s commitment to end all conflict with various groups, including Moro secessionist factions and the protracted communist struggle. JE/rga