Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law signed; ready for submission to President Duterte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) — The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has completed its task to draft a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and is ready to submit it to President Rodrigo Duterte as soon as he is avaiable to receive it.

“Tapos na and ready for submission,” BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar told MindaNews in a text message Friday.

The BTC, originally composed of 11 nominees from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and 10 from the Philippine government (GPH), affixed their signatures on the draft BBL on Friday at the A.Venue Hotel in Makati.  Commissioner Samira Gutoc of Marawi City, a government nominee, tendered her resignation in late May while the Marawi Crisis was unfolding, citing personal reasons and policy questions.

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission completed on Friday, 16 June 2017, its draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, and is now ready to submit it to President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo courtesy of BTC Facebook

The BTC had scheduled a June 13 to June 16 meeting in the Makati hotel to finalize the draft BBL with the intention to submit it to President Duterte on Thursday, June 15 but BTC Executive Director Mike Pasigan told MindaNews they received no confirmation from Malacanang.

President Duterte’s appointments this week were canceled. He failed to attend the Independence Day rites at the Luneta on Monday, June 12, and has not made any public appearance since. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Wednesday night said Duterte is “well” and was “just getting needed rest after 23 intense days of supervising the Marawi situation.”

“We are waiting for the fixed schedule of our submission of the BBL to the President,” BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar told MindaNews Wednesday.

The new draft BBL consists of 114 pages and18 articles.  The draft BBL submitted to the Office of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III on April 22, 2014 was a 97-page, 18-article document.

TWO CHAIRS. Ghazali Jaafar (in black suit), chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and former BTC chair Mohagher Iqbal (in gray suit) hug each other after the completion of the new draft BBL on Friday, 16 June 2017 at the A. Venue hotel in Makati City. Photo courtesy of BTC Facebook

Asked how different the draft is from the draft BBL under the Aquino administration, Jaafar, who is also 1st Vice Chair of the MILF, told MindaNews: “This new (draft) Bangsamoro law now accommodates all stakeholders in the areas of Bangasmoro — indigenous people, settlers or Christians, traditional leaders or sultans, women, youth and Ulama. Lahat sila meron (All of them will have) reserved seats sa Bangsamoro Parliament.”

Lawyer Raissa Jajurie, BTC Commissioner in the Aquino and Duterte administrations, told MindaNews Friday that the major changes include accommodating more “sectoral” concerns of “the youth, settlers, etc..”  and  accommodating the unimplemented provisions of the Moro National Liberation Font’s (MNLF) 1976 and 1996 peace agreements into the new draft BBL.

Commissioner Omar Yasser Crisostomo Sema describes the draft BBL as a “converged BBL” that will implement not only the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the Philippine government (GPH) and the MILF, but will also be “implementing all peace agreements, resolving all contentious issues in the MNLF-GPH peace process.”  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)