GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Aug) – After 4 p.m. yesterday, I visited the website of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to find the latest on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The latest! The news report|: “Bangsamoro Basic Law timetable on track – Deles, Posted on Monday, Aug 18th, 2014.”
The “fresh” news consists ofp the statement of Secretary Deles. The rest is a rehash of earlier news reports. The Secretary’s statement, in bold Italics:
MANILA – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles today said that the timeline for the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law remains on track, assuring that it will be submitted to Congress within the month of August.
“After the meeting of Parties ended last Friday, it was understood that there will be a need to incorporate all agreements reached into the final draft as well as fine-tune the entire draft to ensure that all articles will be consistent with each other,” Deles said.
“The draft is expected to be submitted to the President within the week and to Congress within the month,” she added.
“It was clear at the end of this round of talks that a few more days were needed to review the draft and ensure that all the agreements/clarifications are properly incorporated and the whole draft is fine-tuned to ensure consistency within and across the different articles,” she added.
This was the reference of the 6:25 p.m. INQUIRER.netreport, “Bangsamoro Basic Law draft delayed anew”, by Kristine Angeli Sabilo last Monday which we cited in our Mind da News article last August 19.
The promises to submit the BBL draft to the President “within the week” and to the Congress “by the end of the month” are already “broken records”. The need to review, revise and fine tune the draft is understandable. What we find irritating is the statement of the Secretary, as cited, “that the timeline for the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law remains on track”. (Bold Italics ours)
We don’ have to ask. We believe the good Secretary knows the meaning of “remains on track” and she still remembers the “timeline” in the FAB (Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro). We also believe she knows people, including us in Mindanao, have memories.
By the original timeline, the BBL draft was to be certified by the President to the Congress by the end of the first half of 2013 so it could be enacted by the end of 2013 and submitted to a plebiscite in the first quarter of 2014. This went off the track. The negotiation of the Annexes which by the original timeline was to have been finished by end of 2012 went off target for more than one year – signing the last Annex in the first quarter of 2014, not holding the plebiscite.
The original timeline was revised in the first quarter this year ostensibly to hype the people that the BBL was on schedule. In this revised roadmap or timeline the BBL draft was to be submitted to the President for review in April 2014 and certified to the Congress May 5. This also went off the track. The new timeline for submission to the Congress was July 28, 2014. This again went off the track.
The revision by the office of the President of the BBL draft derailed the BBL. The Office of the President and the GPH and MILF negotiating panels scrambled in July and August to put the BBL back on its track. The last timeline to submit the “mutually agreed” BBL draft to the President was August 18. This again went off the track. The new timeline is to submit the BBL draft to the President within this week and to the Congress by the end of the month – as the OPAPP report quoted at the outset shows.
Including the end of 2013 foul up, the BBL timeline has gone off the track four times. In reality, the BBL train is already late by more than one and a half years. It is still on its track; it will eventually arrive. Considering this, what we understand the good Secretary is saying to the people is this: We are still on schedule. The draft will be submitted to the Congress by the end of August. There is enough time to craft the BBL that will entrench the Bangsamoro as originally envisioned.
She knows what big difference the more than one and a half year lost time would make on the vision of the Bangsamoro that will eventually be entrenched. She knows the Moros and other people know. Hyping that the lost time will make no difference is disrespecting the intelligence of the humble people.
[Author’s Note: Mind da News, the alternate of COMMENT, is a comment on current news. The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]