By Roy Mabasa
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he will ask Congress to convene even for one day to let them hear the position of stakeholders concerning the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
During the first Bangsamoro Assembly held in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao the President expressed his willingness to walk the “hundreds of miles, not the mile” as a first step towards achieving a “one nation, one Republic.”
“What we need is to be heard. We need to correct the injustice committed against the Moro people and all of the Lumads here. Second is to preserve the Republic,” he said.
He added that the discussion must be “inclusive.” “Walang maiiwan dito sa peace talks na ito. MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), lahat na, Lumad kasali.”
The President stressed that the Republic of the Philippines must be one and the preservation of all Filipinos, Christian or Muslim, “must be there to unite us.”
“Then we will be happy, in the goodness of — the fullness of God’s time, I am sure, it is just a simple equation of correcting an injustice, redistributing whatever is it, just compensation and all, but these are all legislations. It can come later,” he said.
However, the President sees no end in the Mindanao problem if the fundamental issue of historical injustice will not be solved.
“It cannot go on. Your children cannot kill my children. Ang pamilya ko mismo hati, alam ninyo ‘yan. I have a branch of my family puro Moro, Islam. Meron rin akong branch sa pamilya ko na Kristiyanos. Saan ninyo ako ilagay,” the President said.
During the President’s visit, a mammoth crowd occupied a two-kilometer stretch along the Cotabato-Davao highway in Sultan Kudarat, the biggest gathering of Muslims organized by the MILF.
Among those in attendance were Bangsamoro Transition Commission chair Ghazali Jaafar, ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, MILF Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim, MNLF Central Committee Chairman Yusoph Jikiri, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and several members of the diplomatic community.
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