Pass BBL in 2 years; make Bangsamoro pilot for federalism

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /23 April) — A Moro civil society leader said the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) needs to be passed “not later than two years from now” in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB),  to allow for the establishment of the new Bangsamoro political entity that can be the pilot project for the shift to a federal form of governemnt.

Guiamel Alim, executive director of Kadtuntaya Foundation and a member of the Council of Elders of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) told a press conference here Friday that the BBL has to be passed within this period as the CAB provides for a transition period of at least one year for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that would prepare for the establishment of the Bangsamoro, the new autonomous political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

IN TWO YEARS. Guiamel Alim, executive director of the Kadtuntaya Foundation and a member of the Council of Elders of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society tells a press conference on 22 April at the Ateneo de Davao University that the Bangsamoro Basic Law needs to be passed "not later than two years from now" in accordance with the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO IN TWO YEARS. Guiamel Alim, executive director of the Kadtuntaya Foundation and a member of the Council of Elders of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society tells a press conference on 22 April at the Ateneo de Davao University that the Bangsamoro Basic Law needs to be passed “not later than two years from now” in accordance with the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO

Under the CAB, the ARMM is deemed abolished upon the ratification of the BBL. The BTA then takes over until the first elected officials in the Bangsamoro political shall have assumed their post during the inauguration of the new Bangsamoro political entity.

Congress adjourned on February 3 without passing the BBL, paving the way for the holding of elections in the ARMM on May 9. Under the law, each ARMM administration has a three-year term of office. The next ARMM election is in May 2019 if the next Congress does not pass the BBL again.

A reporter asked if the peace groups that gathered here for a symposium dubbed “TItayan: Bridging for Peace” (Inclusive Political Transitions in the Bangsamoro) are planning to make a barangay as a pilot project for the implementation of the CAB.

Mindanao’s lone Cardinal, Orlando Quevedo said there are candidates who are advocating federalism “but federalism is a long-term project“ as it involves amending the 1987 Constitution.

Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, tells a press conference at the Ateneo de Davao University on 22 April that federalism is "a long-term project“ as it involves amending the 1987 Constitution but the Bangsamoro which is going to adopt a parliamentary system of government, can be a pilot project. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO PILOT. Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, tells a press conference at the Ateneo de Davao University on 22 April that federalism is “a long-term project“ as it involves amending the 1987 Constitution but
the Bangsamoro which is going to adopt a parliamentary system of government, can be a pilot project. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO

“What we would like is begin with a pilot project – not a barangay – but the Bangsamoro territory. If it succeeds, then perhaps all the others would say ‘ah dapat ganyan, more power more autonomy sa mga provinces… we hope that this will happen,” Quevedo, the Archbishop of Cotabato and lead convenor of Friends of Peace, said.

The proposed Bangsamoro is adopting a parliamentary system of government.

Alim said the shift to federalism may not come soon. “I don’t think that will happen very soon.. it will take time before we can change the Constitution.”

But he said the idea of making the Bangsamoro region as an example is possible “because you know the system that is being adopted in the CAB is more of a federal type of government.. than presidential.”

“If this works then we can improve on it, if this is the way we think can help the country. But for now, federalism is only in the mind. There are so many things to consider in adopting federalism,” he said: geographical cohesion and competence of l local government units (LGUs).

“What are the geographical boundaries in creating these federal states. Two is the competence of LGUs without which we will be creating only a layer of bureaucracy like what is happening today,” Alim said.

He explained that the ARMM is merely a layer of bureaucracy between the national government and the local government units (LGUs). “This is a government that has no oversight over LGUs and so it is an intermediary organization, not helping so much and I think this is why the (phrase) ‘failed experiment’ was coined because it is not responding positively to the needs on the ground.”

The lone Presidential candidate advocating a change in the system of government from the present unitary, Presidential form to a federal system is Presidential frontrunner and Davao city Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

In his visit to the MILF’s Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao morning of February 27 and in his rally in Cotabato City in the afternoon, Duterte said that if he wins the Presidency, he would push for the passage of the BBL and make the Bangsamoro an example for the rest to follow under a federal system of government.

At the MILF camp, Duterte told MILF officials led by Ghazali Jaafar that he would convene a Constitutional Commission to amend the 1987 Constitution to change the system of government into federalism but “if it takes time, and if only to defuse tension, in my government I will convince Congress to pass the BBL then make it as a template for federal states.”

At the Cotabato City plaza, Duterte said there is a need to correct the historical injustices committed against the Moro people and vowed that under his administration, “we will try to go federalism.”

“Yang Bagsamoro sa mapa ngayon, wag nang galawin yan. Gawin na lang nating example na makopya sa lahat. Ang mangyayari nito, uunahin ko na lang pakiusapan ko ang Congress na we will pass the BBL (The Bangsamoro on the map now, let’s not touch that anymore. Let’s make it an example for the rest to copy. I will immediately ask Congress to pass the BBL).

He said he will also tell Nur Misuari “kopyahin na lang natin sila para sa Mindanao at buong Pilipinas” (let’s copy that for Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines”). Misuari, whom Duterte considers a friend, is founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) with whom government signed a Final Peace Agreement in 1996 and whose implementation has yet to be fully completed.

The Friends of Peace had earlier invited Presidential candidates to a dialogue on their peace agenda. Duterte confirmed attendance to the February 12 “Conversations with Presidential Candidates on the Bangsamoro Peace Process” at the Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City. Duterte, however, fell ill during an engagement in Manila the afternoon before and was advised by doctors to rest. He sent his City Administrator, Melchor Quitain.

Quevedo told the “Titayan” symposium on April 21 that administration bet Mar Roxas met with the Friends of Peace in Cotabato City on March 31 and talked about continuing the peace agenda of the Aquino administration.

He said Senate President Franklin Drilon, who accompanied Roxas, said they will pass a BBL “different from the House or the Senate” versions that they deliberated on “within 360 working days” from the start of the next administration.

Drilon is seeking reelection.

Quevedo said there were schedule problems in the “Conversations” with the other Presidential candidates – Vice President Jejomar Binay,  Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Grace Poe.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

  • La Munsterr..

    Talk only, it is impossible to impose federalism in the Philippines as long as this country been ‘controlled’ by those so-called Marcos family. Remember who is the number one politician who against the BBL? No other than Bongbong Marcos. Just let it be, Philippines would never become a develop nation like those federalism countries of United States, Germany, Russia, Canada, Australia and Malaysia. MILF proposal will always going to be just a dream.

  • Joms 2011

    The case between Mar Roxas and Grace Poe.

    Before I go any further. Let me tell you that I have so much respect for both of them. I believe they are both respectable, honest and can function well as President. In fact, I would have supported a MarPoe or PoeMar. But God had a better plan. He has decided to put a Vice President with unquestionable integrity and dedication. I am referring to Ms. Leni Robredo, my Vice President. I could tell you more good things about Leni Robredo but for now this is about Mar Roxas and Grace Poe.

    Even when the issue about Grace Poe’s citizenship came out, I was still considering a PoeRob more than RoRo because I was worried about Mar Roxas’ winnability. I was afraid that if I don’t give my support to Poe instead then Binay or Duterte might win. But when I learned about the overwhelming support of the Silent Majority then I went back to my selection process again by comparing the two candidates’ character, background/experience and leadership attributes. I believe everyone should consider the same selection process and not rely on popularity and persona of the candidate.

    Character:

    Both of them are god-fearing, polite, honest, humble and decent. In terms of loyalty, I would have to give it to Mar Roxas because there was never any question about his Citizenship considering he had also worked in the US for a while.

    Background:

    Both of them have very good educational background. In terms of experience, Mar Roxas has been a Congressman, a DTI secretary, a senator, a DILG secretary, a DOTC secretary just to name a few. Grace Poe on the other hand has been an MTRCB chair and then became a senator. In terms of bills authored and co-authored by these two candidates. I can tell you with certainty that Mar Roxas has done more than Grace Poe. So clearly Mar Roxas has a more solid experience and background.

    Leadership Attributes.

    Both candidate can clearly inspire and motivate the people around them. However, In terms of planning, directing, controlling and delegating, Mar Roxas have demonstrated these Leadership Attributes very well in agencies he has managed while I am yet to see Grace Poe demonstrate them.

    Yes. I may not be fully satisfied with Mar Roxas performances but he has done pretty good with some areas of improvement. But for Grace Poe, there is nothing for me to rate unfortunately.

    In addition, one of the most important Leadership Attributes that I barely see in private or public organizations is the “Other-Centered Leadership”. What this means is that you don’t care about what other people think about you as long as what you are doing is for the benefit of all if not majority. Mar Roxas demonstrated this attribute when he gave the opportunity of Presidency to PNOY even if he knew it will surely hurt his ego and that some people might think that PNOY is better than him although it is not necessarily the case.

    There you go. It is very clear that Mar Roxas has a Better Character, a more Solid Background and has Better if not the Best Leadership Attributes among all other Leaders I have ever met in my entire life.

    Therefore I will no longer settle and vote for the Lesser Evil but will now vote for the true Qualified Candidates, which is Mar Roxas as my President and Leni Robredo for Vice President. Mabuhay!