BTC to submit draft Bangsamoro law to Aquino on Monday

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/12 April)—The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will finally be submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacañang by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) on Monday (April 14), the Mindanao Civil Society Organizations Platform for Peace (MCSOPP) said on Saturday.

The MCSOPP, which is composed of 120 groups and networks in the island, has been tapped by the BTC to conduct consultations and to provide recommendations to the crafting of the BBL.

“This is a significant milestone in the process of implementing the commitments of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as enshrined in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB),” the group said in a statement.

“The Basic Law will serve as charter of the future Bangsamoro autonomous entity that seeks to be the institution that responds to the self-governance aspiration of the Moro people,” it added.

Abdullah Cusain, BTC communications officer, told MindaNews that the BTC commissioners will come in full force to submit the draft BBL to the President.

The 15-man BTC is chaired by Mohagher Iqbal, also the chair of the MILF peace panel.

Iqbal said in a recent event in Maguindanao that the passage of the BBL “remains on track,” noting the March 31 deadline of submission to Aquino “was a self-imposed deadline of the BTC.”

Aquino has repeatedly said that he will certify the BBL as a priority legislative measure of the administration.

Congress is on a break and will resume its session on May 4. Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier vowed to have the BBL approved “on or before December 31, 2014.”

The MCSOPP said the submission of the draft BBL is an important step towards “making the letter and spirit of the CAB a reality.”

There will be a rally at Mendiola on Monday at 2 p.m., simultaneous with a press conference at the second floor of Jollibee-Mendiola branch, the group said.

“Mendiola is a hallowed ground for the country’s struggle for nationalism, democracy, and freedom from oppressive social, economic, and political structures. On Monday, we hope to celebrate here the dawn of a hopeful future for the Bangsamoro people and for Mindanao,” they said.

The rally will gather Moro and civil society leaders to call for Congress to speed up the enactment of the BBL, the MCSOPP said.

MCSOPP is a network of Mindanao civil society organizations accompanying the GPH-MILF peace process. It has been engaged with the BTC in the conduct of public consultations for the drafting of the BBL. It will continue to engage communities in the core territory of the proposed Bangsamoro and other communities in Mindanao and the rest of the country for Congress to enact the BBL the soonest time possible. (MindaNews)