Five-member BTC Coordinating Committee to finalize draft BBL

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /05 June) — The five-member Coordinating Committee of the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will meet again this weekend to finalize the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and submit it to the plenary for deliberation.

This after the five standing committee of the 21-member BTC – Fiscal Autonomy, Political Autonomy, Basic Rights, Transitory, and Justice and Security – completed and signed their  respective committee reports on June 2, in Davao City.

Members of the coordinating committee are also chairing the five committees of the BTC – Atty. Firdausi Abbas for Security and Justice Committee, Atty. Jose Lorena tor Transitory Committee, Atty. Raisa Jajurie for Fiscal Autonomy, Atty. Hussin Amin, for Basic Rights Committee, and Mohagher Iqbal for Fiscal Autonomy. Iqbal is concurrently chair of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel.

Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission led by chair Ghazali Jaafar (3rd from right) during the Iftar on Saturday, 03 June 2017 in Davao City. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

The BBL will serve as the enabling law for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that the government and MILF peace panels signed on March 27, 2014.

In a statement released Monday, Karen N. Tanada, executive director of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute and member of the Third Party Monitoring Team of the government, said the coordinating committee will review and finalize the finished draft of the BBL before its submission to the Office of the President.

She said the expanded BTC has added numerous substantial provisions in the previously submitted BBL, otherwise known as House Bill 4994.

During the “Iftar for Peace” at the Park Inn by Radisson Davao Saturday, Ghazali Jaarfar,  BTC chair and concurrent 1st vice chair of the MILF, said  they adopted the BBL as a “working document” and enhanced it to make it more reflective of the interests of the people in the Bangsamoro.

Tanada said the BTC during its last month of drafting the BTC, “gave importance to ideas, suggestions, and submission of position papers from various sectors; including the youth, academe, religious and traditional leaders, non-muslims, and from the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) government to foster an inclusive law and to ensure that the gains of the House Bill 9054 creating the current Autonomous Region are protected in the establishment of the Bangsamoro.”

The BTC was mandated to draft the BBL, with members expanded to 21 from 15 – 11 nominated by the MILF, including the chair, and 10 nominated by the GPH.

Once passed, the BBL will pave the way for the creation of a new Bangsamoro government to replace the  Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Jaafar said it is up to the President to determine when the new draft will be submitted to the Congress. The President will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, where he is expected to certify the Bangsamoro bill as urgent.

“The draft BBL enshrines the legitimate aspirations and interests of the people of the Bangsamoro – be they Muslim Bangsamoros, Christian settler communities as well as Moro and non-Moro indigenous people,” he said.

“The Bangsamoros’ aspiration to establish a government that is genuinely asymmetric in relationship with the central government, and consistent with their belief and historical experience, is reflected so well in several articles that clearly establishes its powers over political and fiscal matters, including the control voer the exploration, development and utilization of resources,” he said.  (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)