Certify BBL, Duterte urged
Secretary Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, on Tuesday said he would recommend that the latest version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) be transmitted immediately to Congress and certified as an urgent bill without prior revision by Malacañang.
“Unlike what they did in the last administration — when they tinkered with proposed BBL first — our recommendation is that as soon as the President receives it, he will turn it over to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President,” Dureza said. “But, as you know very well, the President makes the final call.”
Mohagher Iqbal, who was chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), had told Inquirer that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) was ready to submit the draft BBL to Malacañang on July 17.
Iqbal, a member of the BTC, was hopeful that Mr. Duterte would keep his promise of a “homeland” for the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao in three years’ time.
The BTC, comprised of representatives from the government and the Moro rebels, hopes the President will certify the bill as urgent in his State of the Nation Address on July 24.
The crafting of the law is part of the implementation of the peace accord signed by the Philippine government and MILF in March 2014.
The BBL defines the basic structure of the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous state in Mindanao, a key feature of the federal form of government being pushed by Mr. Duterte and his allies.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Sen. Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate committee on local government, on Tuesday said they were optimistic of Congress’ support for the measure.
Pimentel said he was told by a BTC member that “this version is less constitutionally objectionable” than the first draft.
He told reporters its passage would be among the priority measures of Congress.
Angara believes the proposed law “will have a good chance if it has the full backing of the administration and if there’s an extensive consultation that will happen.”
“Our people are losing hope in Mindanao and they are looking for solutions and BBL is one possible solution,” he said.
The previous Congress failed to pass the first proposed BBL under the Aquino administration in the wake of the fallout from the Mamasapano massacre in early 2015.
In a speech in Iligan City last month, Mr. Duterte promised to push the passage of the new BBL.
“That’s the truth,” he said. “I’m not joking … On the third year [of my term], God willing, it will be there and you will see how we will build our country.” —With a report from Jocelyn R. Uy