EDITORIAL | Fate of the BBL

ON FEBRUARY 24, 2017, during the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission at the Garden Pavilion, Waterfront Insular Hotel, hopes were high that the Bangsamoro Basic Law will finally be at arm’s reach. Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza reminded those who will craft the law that this was a “milestone that has been promised” and that if this “golden opportunity” is lost, we will lose it forever.

Both panels immediately hunkered down to work and beat the deadline set by the government. It was presented to the President and passed on to the two Houses for approval August last year.

The golden opportunity mentioned on that February afternoon may just pass us by. On Dec. 19, after signing the 2018 national budget and tax reform law, President Rodrigo Duterte said the draft BBL may not withstand a constitutional challenge but that he will ask Congress to ensure that the Bangsamoro will have their homeland.

In a statement released yesterday, Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said the President would “push for the passage of the Bangsamoro Bill and will even go to the extent of resorting to an executive issuance to hasten it or if Congress itself fails to approve it.”

“Stressing that he can use the inherent powers of the presidency, he is ready to carve out through an executive order the area for the Bangsamoro for their self-rule.

“The President met with the MILF leaders headed by Kagi Ibrahim Murad late afternoon Monday in Davao City as he reassured them that he would push for an early passage of the law for the Bangsamoro ahead of the shift to federalism.”

The Bangsamoro Basic Law is the legal expression of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, signed by the government and the MILF on March 27, 2014. Its passage will pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity that will replace the 27-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


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