MILF sees greater chance of BBL passage » Manila Bulletin News

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BTC hands over today draft bill to President Duterte

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By Ali G. Macabalang

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expects President Duterte to certify as urgent the new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) draft to increase its chances of being enacted into law by Congress.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Vice-Chairperson Ghadzali Jaafar (Davao Today)

“Less than that would only bring back old memories when the previous BBL was never formally certified as an urgent bill by President Aquino,” the MILF said in a statement on Sunday.

The 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), chaired by MILF Vice Chair Ghadzali Jaafar, is set to hand over today its draft BBL to the President for transmittal to the two chambers of Congress.

In a speech before Marawi evacuees in Iligan City three weeks ago, the President promised to ask Congress to pass the proposed law so that the Bangsamoro region could be set up soonest and become a template for his campaign for federalism.

Duterte has said there would be no problem for the draft endorsement if it excludes constitutional infirmities such as the old version’s provisions for the establishment of a Bangsamoro region’s regional police and security forces.

But in past pronouncements, the MILF said the proposed regional forces would remain under the President with the Bangsamoro leadership having a say in the appointment of top police and military officials in the new region.

Under the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which the BBL seeks to replace with the Bangsamoro entity, the regional and provincial governors are entitled by law to endorse appointees for police commanders in their respective turfs. But such entitlement has never been practiced religiously, according to BBL supporters.

The President had expanded the BTC membership from 15 to 21 to include representatives from the Moro National Liberation Front and other sectors for the crafting of a draft bill inclusive of the MILF and MNLF signed peace accords with the government.

The 15-member BTC crafted the old BBL draft which former President Benigno Aquino III pushed in the 16th Congress minus the official urgent certification. The measure made it out of the Senate and House committees handling its initial deliberation but was never tackled in plenary.

While crediting Aquino’s push to have the first BBL draft enacted, MILF members and peace advocates assailed the conduct of the Palace-sanctioned anti-terror police operations in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which left 44 police commandos killed and sparked public outrage which prompted lawmakers to shelve the old BBL draft bill.

The MILF this time is confident that with President Duterte, House Speaker and Senate President all from Mindanao, the BBL enactment to law has a “greater chance” of being passed.

It said that given Duterte’s high popularity, he would be in a better position to sway the legislators towards positively considering the measure.

Seventy leaders from various sectors who convened in Cagayan de Oro City last week said the passage of the BBL leading to the creation of the Bangsamoro autonomous entity could usher in the effective rebuilding of the war-torn city of Marawi and boost the government’s campaign against terrorism.

Under the Bangsamoro entity, there will be “no room” for terrorism-bound religious extremism.

 



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