Mindanao local execs want swift congressional approval of BBL

Mindanao Peace Process • Tue Jul 18, 2017 06:17 PM  •  87   0
By John Unson
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President Duterte receieves copy of draft BBL from BTC chair Ghadzali Jaafar. (Malacanang photo)
President Duterte receieves copy of draft BBL from BTC chair Ghadzali Jaafar. (Malacanang photo)
COTABATO CITY -- Officials are looking forward to the speedy approval by Congress of the reformatted draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

A copy of the draft bill, meant to put peaceful closure to the decades-old Moro problem, was submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). 

The proposed BBL is the enabling measure for the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a more empowered political entity based on two compacts between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Malacañang, the 2013 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro. 

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said on Tuesday that the new BBL will also provide Moro communities enough political strength to address violent religious extremism now plaguing some areas in the autonomous region. 

“It will also address the historical injustice the Moro people have been suffering for so long. It will bring a restorative kind of justice and peace in the Moro homeland,” said Hataman, now in his second term as ARMM’s regional governor. 

The ARMM covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi. 

Local executives in the autonomous region are certain of the inclusivity of the BBL having been premised on inputs from public consultations initiated by members of the BTC. 

Three of the 21 members of the BTC are representatives from the largest and most politically-active bloc in the Moro National Liberation Front, led by former Sulu Rep. Yusoph Jikiri. Unlike the MNLF faction under Nur Misuari, Jikiri’s group is not hostile to the MILF.


Hataman and Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu separately announced on Tuesday that they are grateful to Duterte for promising to help see through the enactment into law of the new draft BBL. 

"I commit to support in front of everybody my covenant with you. I will support and husband this instrument," the president said of the proposed BBL during the BTC’s turnover of its official copy to Malacañang on Monday. 

Local officials are optimistic the revised draft BBL will not suffer the same fate met by its old version that Congress disapproved for containing unconstitutional provisions. 

Mangudadatu on Tuesday said he is sure Duterte will keep his promise to help secure congressional imprimatur for the new BBL. 

“We in Maguindanao are convinced lawmakers will also act favorably towards that goal. We want lasting peace in Mindanao, particularly in my province, Maguindanao, the main bastion of the MILF,” Mangudadatu said. 

Mangudadatu said his administration and the league of mayors in the province supports the new draft BBL. He said the proposed BBL, once approved and enforced, will weaken violent religious extremists, or VREs, trying to establish domains in the autonomous region. 

“We wish the new version of the BBL gets the approval by the legislature without delay,” said Mangudadatu, a staunch supporter of the peace overture between Malacañang and the MILF. 

Mangudadatu said some outcast Islamic militants are capitalizing on delays in the implementation of all peace accords reached by the government and the MILF to stoke public animosity towards the government. 

Ghazali Jaafar, chairman of the BTC, has described the new BBL as more inclusive than the bill that failed to hurdle the 16th Congress. He said the new draft BBL is an antidote to violent religious extremism.
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