COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/23 April) — There is a lot of speculation going on vis-a-vis the said draft, considering that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission’s (BTC) protocol says that it works by consensus, and there are four commissioners that differ from the majority… two voted ‘yes’ with reservation and two were absent.
We simply want to know the reservation and the absence… since they are principled people they need to tell us – their constituencies – the reason instead of leaving us in the dark and speculation…
Moreover, we also want to read the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) so we can reasonably make comment on it… as it is… none other than the BTC Commissioners and some members of the Office of the President (OP) have so far read the BBL… So we cannot really know its content – breadth and depth… It is also foolhardy to comment on something NOT read or made public yet…
All we know this far is the fact that BTC has completed its major task, that is, to write the Draft Basic Law, and submitted the same to the Office of the President. How they completed the same is not yet made public, neither the draft Basic Law.
Many are asking me when will the draft BBL be made public…? My simple answer is I do NOT know… When asked for comments, I also say that any comment is speculative since few seem to have read the document… other than sloganeering.
We will be able to take position when we have read the document… What simply I can say is the process is NOW nearing the third stage… the presentation of the Draft Basic Law to Congress for legislating it. Definitely when it reaches Congress, it becomes a Public Document and subject to Public Hearings by both the House and the Senate.
This is the reason why an early public distribution of the draft would make a healthier and more intelligent debate and hearing both in the House and the Senate. In this way, we can all participate in the making of the Basic Law and this process would facilitate the ownership of such Law.
Being in the movement for the Federal Philippines, I personally believe that a GOOD Basic Law and its success would enhance any future movement to make the Philippines adopt a Federal system of government through a Charter Change sometime, hopefully in the near future when the nation is ready. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. PeaceTalk is open to anyone who wishes to share his/her thoughts on peace in Mindanao. Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, Jr., senior policy adviser at the Institute for Autonomy and Governance in Cotabato City was former president of the Notre Dame University and was former member of the Independent Fact-Finding Team of the GPH-MILF Peace Process in the late 1990s until the “all-out war” of the Estrada administration in 2000).