Bangsamoro law passed by May 2018, Congress leaders assure Duterte, MILF

Want create site? With Free visual composer you can do it easy.

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 April) — Leaders of the two houses of Congress on Wednesday afternoon assured President Rodrigo Duterte and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be passed by May 2018.

The President met with the MILF, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Jr., and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza in Malacanang for about an hour Wednesday afternoon.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) led by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim meets with President Rodrigo Duterte, and Congress leaders – Senate President Aqullino Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Jr. – in Malacanang on Wednesday, 04 April 2018. Pimentel and Alvarez assured the President and the MILF that the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be passed by May 2018. Ace Morandante/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“The President urged the two heads of chambers to fast-track the passage of the BBL before July ahead of federalism. The two heads bared that they already have schedules and are confident they could complete the process by June,” MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim told MindaNews on Thursday.

Congress adjourns sine die on June 1.

On Thursday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters in Malacanang that the President asked the House leaders to finalize their version of the BBL, consolidate all pending versions and he will “certify as urgent” the bill “para mapabilis ang passage ng BBL.”

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF 1st Vice Chair and concurrent chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) told MindaNews the President “requested” the leaders of Congress “to pass the BBL into law within May of 2018.”

“On our part we appealed to the President and the two houses to pass the BBL into law,  not watered down,” Jaafar said, adding a “watered down BBL is not acceptable to our people.”

The May 2018 passage is “kaya daw sa Senate” (The Senate can do it), Jaafar said, recalling how Senate President Pimentel “assured the President and us that the BBL travel is smooth and that end of May it will be enacted into law.  We believe him,” he said.

Speaker Alvarez gave the same assurance, Jaafar said. But he noted that Alvarez informed them “meron lang very minority congressmen na merong amendments” (there are minority congressmen who want to introduce amendments).

The Malacanang meeting on Wednesday came eight days after Duterte met with the MILF leadership at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on March 27.

Dureza in a statement on March 28 said the President reiterated to the MILF “his continuing and consistent desire and commitment to install the enhanced government structure and governance that will hopefully solve the root causes of the Moro rebellion and address the historical injustice suffered by the Bangsamoro over generations.”

“The President said he would assist even to the extent of relaying to both chambers of Congress his determination to help push for the passage of the BBL that is compliant with the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) and as close as possible to the new draft law submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

“In the event this does not take place in Congress, he said he would go to the extent of even exercising his residual powers thru administrative directives to fulfill this commitment,” Dureza said.

Asked what these “administrative directives” would be, Dureza told MindaNews on March 28: “he will issue daw directives within his administrative powers to implement doable provisions of BBL if no law is passed.”

At the awarding of  Outstanding Farmers, Fisherfolk and coastal communities (Gawad Saka 2017) and Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan 2017 held in Malacanang on Thursday, Duterte said: “I’m ready to carve out something there administratively at first, and I will do that.” It is not clear what he meant by this.

But he reiterated “we will comply with the BBL. That’s a promise. I will comply.”

Status of the Bangsamoro in Congress  

Before Congress adjourned on March 21 for a break until May 14, the Senate Committee on Local Government had already completed its report and had filed its substitute Bangsamoro bill. It was at the stage of interpellation when they went on recess.

Congress resumes sessions from May 15 to June 1.

At the House of Representatives, the Committees on Local Governments, Muslim Affairs, and Peace and Reconciliation Unity had consolidated the four Bangsamoro bills filed, including the BTC-drafted bill filed by Speaker Alvarez and some 90 other co-authors. But they have yet to complete their report.

The three committees are going to deliberate on the BBL on April 16, starting at 1:30 p.m., and on April 17 and 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Their main agenda: “voting on BBL amendments.” 

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meets with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, on April 4, 2018 in Malacanang on the passage of the Bangsmaoro Basic Law. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, government peace panel chair in the negotiations with the National Democratic Front were also present, along with Adelino Sity, Presidential Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary. Albert Alcain / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Dureza in his March 28 statement said former President Gloria Arroyo “in a phone conversation with me and Kagi Murad committed to support the BTC-drafted version” and that she would “withdraw authorship of her previously signed bill to fast track the approval of the new version.”

Arroyo’s bill is a replica of the substitute bill filed by then Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.  during the Aquino administration. No BBL was passed under that administration.

It is not clear how Arroyo would “withdraw” her bill considering that it, along with the bills filed by Maguindanao Rep. and Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Bai Sandra Sema, Lanao del Norte Rep. Mohamd Khalid Dimaporo and the BTC draft filed by Speaker Alvarez, had already been consolidated and a working draft has been done before the joint committees conducted public hearings in February and March

Dureza quoted Murad as saying on March 27 that if the BBL is not passed under the Duterte administration, “we seriously doubt if we can do it at all, in the future.”

“President Duterte is now our only and last card,” Dureza quoted Murad as saying.

Race against time

As agreed upon by the government and MILF under the CAB, the BBL will pave the way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity that would replace the 28-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), an entity that is autonomous in name only and earlier dismissed as a “failed experiment.”

Under the Bangsamoro Peace and Development Roadmap of the Duterte administration, the BBL was targeted to be passed yearend of 2017 to allow enough time for the plebiscite to ratify the law, and a transition period under the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) that will be appointed by the President and will govern the area until the regular elections are held.

The CAB provides that the BBL, once enacted by Congress, shall be ratified in a plebiscite “not later than 120 days from the legislative enactment” and once the BBL is ratified, the ARMM is deemed abolished and the BTA takes over until regular elections are held.

If the BBL is passed in May, the process of its ratification will have to be started immediately as the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2019 elections is in mid-October.

If no BBL is ratified before mid-October, the elections in the ARMM will proceed as scheduled in May 2019.(Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

 

Did you find apk for android? You can find new Free Android Games and apps.

Comments

comments