ARMM officials, MILF confident of BBL’s swift passage in Congress PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 September 2014 12:00

Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are confident of the enactment “as is” of the draft Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL) which Malacañang officially endorsed to Congress on Wednesday.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman and his regional secretaries, who witnessed President Benigno Aquino III’s turnover of the draft BBL to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. in Malacañang, also reiterated their readiness to step down once the proposed law is passed and ratified via a plebiscite.

A duly enacted BBL will pave the way for the ARMM’s replacement with a new Bangsamoro political entity, based on the final peace compact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

“The President has handed over to Congress the draft BBL. This proposed law, borne out of deep thoughts and discussions, is now in the hands of legislators whose duty is to study, deliberate and act upon all matters related to the advancement and welfare of the Bangsamoro people. We look forward to its enactment into law soon,” Hataman said.

Hataman’s constituent-provincial governors, Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao and Mamintal Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur, who were also in Malacañang, both assured of their support to the GPH-MILF peace efforts.

“We want lasting peace in Maguindanao, in the Bangsamoro homeland. We are convinced this peace process will hasten the attainment of that desire which has been here in our hearts since we were still small children,” Mangudadatu said.

Hataman said the ARMM government is prepared to turn over all of its fiscal assets and properties to the government and the MILF panels once the enabling measure for the transition, from the autonomous region to the Bangsamoro entity, becomes a law.

The MILF is confident of the BBL’s enactment before yearend.

“We are hoping it will not become a `watered down BBL,’ said Ghazali Jaafar, the MILF’s vice chairman for political affairs.

The government and the MILF aim to have the plebiscite for the BBL’s ratification by early 2015.

Once established, the Bangsamoro will have its first elections in 2016, simultaneous with the nationwide local and presidential elections in the same year.

The MILF is expected to field candidates for elective posts in the Bangsamoro government by then.

“The creation of the Bangsamoro is not the end of the ARMM. It is the beginning of peace and progress and the groundwork for which was made possible by the ARMM government,” Hataman said.

Leaders of Mindanao’s business community on Wednesday called on Congress to accelerate the passage of the draft BBL.

“We are confident Congress will approve it immediately,” said Vincent Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council.

Lao said his group is confident the BBL will usher in improvements in Mindanao’s business climate, as a result of the peace it is expected to usher in.

Lao, speaking on behalf of hundreds of MBC members, also urged congressional representatives to set aside their political and personal interests when they deliberate on the draft BBL to hasten its passage.