Pnoy to push Bangsamoro law with conviction PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 26 July 2014 13:32

President Benigno Aquino III told members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Thursday that he will aggressively push for the enactment of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress.

“I want to be able to push this [Bangsamoro Basic Law] with conviction,” Aquino said, adding that it is his obligation to the people who are yearning for peace in Mindanao.

The meeting with the BTC came on the heels of reports that there continue to be ‘significant points of differences’ during this week’s meeting of the peace panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the recommendations of the Office of the President’s legal team to the draft BBL.

“Let’s approach this [drafting of the proposed BBL] with an open mind, see if everything is consistent with the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro], and limit the potential challenges,” the President said during the meeting with the BTC which was also attended by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, other cabinet secretaries, and government negotiators Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Senen Bacani and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao.

“Let us put ourselves in each other’s shoes,” Aquino added, saying that the Parties must work together to bridge the differences. “Mula sa Kayo at Kami, ibalik natin sa Tayo,” he further advised.

Holding a print out of  MILF Chairman Murad’s speech during the March signing ceremony for the CAB, the President read out this sentence: “After all, the CAB is not only for the MILF, but also for the MNLF, for all Muslim ethnic tribes, Christian settlers, and indigenous peoples.”

The BTC, which was created to draft the BBL, submitted its proposed bill to the Office of the President on April 22 for review. The Office of the President returned the draft last month with comments for review by the BTC. Subsequently, the BTC issued a resolution “elevating to the Panels for clarification and resolution the outstanding issues on the draft Basic Law.”

The Panels then met in Kuala Lumpur for five days in early July, and another four days in Manila recently. BTC members attended both meetings as observers.

Due diligence is necessary since President Aquino will certify the BBL as an urgent bill to fast-track its passage in Congress. The meticulous process of drafting the BBL will ensure that the bill, which is the legal document operationalizing the CAB, conforms to the Constitution, with its flexibilities, and embodies the true spirit and genuine intentions of the CAB – a product of 17 years of negotiations between the government and the MILF.

Aquino urged the Parties to finalize the draft bill soon, stressing that Congress is concerned about the timeframe for the bill’s enactment into law if it is not submitted soon.

“We want the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to be put in place next year, as early as possible,” he said.

The peace panels are set to resume discussions on the draft BBL today, July 25, after the BTC reiterated its resolution to elevate to the panels the task of producing a mutually acceptable draft.