MILF confident Duterte can secure new BBL in Congress

MILF confident Duterte can secure new BBL in Congress


In this July 11, 2016 file photo, President Rodrigo Duterte go in a huddle with Ghadzali Jaafar, the MILF vice chairman for political affairs, and Lawyer Randolf Parcasio of the Moro National Liberation Front during the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fitr in Davao City.  The President met with leaders of the two Moro rebel groups in peace negotiations with the government, to come up with a unified peace settlement that will end all Moro rebellion in the country. (Photo by Rene B. Lumawag / Presidential Photographers Division)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expects President Duterte to certify the current draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as an urgent bill to increase its chances of being enacted into law by Congress.

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

On Monday, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) hands over its draft BBL to the President, who in turn, is expected to endorse it to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In a speech before Marawi evacuees in Iligan City three weeks ago, Mr. Duterte promised to ask Congress to pass the proposed law so that the Bangsamoro region could be established soonest and become a template for the federalization of the whole country.

The current draft is the second one produced by the BTC. The first one was produced during the time of President Benigno Aquino III and was handed over to the 16th Congress in September 2014. The measure made it out of the respective 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, the MILF said “a formal certification would provide the necessary kick that can set Congress in real motion.”

The MILF leads the 21-member BTC that drafted the proposed charter of a Moro autonomous entity to replace and have greater powers than the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The group is confident that with the President, House Speaker and Senate President all coming from Mindanao “(where) the problem is,” there is a “greater chance” for the BBL’s enactment into law.

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

The group has assured the public that the current BBL draft “is more inclusive both in process and content, because at least one-half of the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) is already on board.”

Meanwhile, some 70 leaders from various sectors in Mindanao emphasized that the “earnest push forward” with the Bangsamoro peace process has provided “a strong foundation” for rebuilding Marawi City which has been besieged by Islamic State-linked militants since May 23.

The leaders, who were convened by the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC) here last week, particularly cited the enactment of the proposed BBL as signifying seriousness in implementing government’s peace agreements with Moro revolutionary groups.

That, in turn, has served as a counterpoint to the arguments of Islamic militants against the Bangsamoro peace process, the conference participants said.

The MILF has said that “there is no logical way forward except the way of peace – and for government to comply for what it had committed.”

“The longer the conflict protracts, the better chance for the violent extremists like the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups to recruit and strengthen, because they feast on our failures.”  SFM

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Acts of terror, Armed conflict, Bangsamoro autonomy, Bangsamoro Basic Law, Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Benigno Aquino III, Bishops-Ulama Conference, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Crime, Extremism, federalism, former presidents, House of Representatives, Insurgency, Legislation, Mamasapano massacre, Marawi conflict, Marawi crisis, Marawi siege, Maute group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, peace, peace negotiations, peace process, Peace Talks, Philippine Congress, Philippine Government, Philippine president, Politics, rebellion, Rodrigo Duterte, Senate, Terrorism
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