Congress sets Dec. 10 final BBL consultation in Maguindanao PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 December 2014 13:51

Local officials and representatives of civil society organizations in Maguindanao are expected to again unanimously endorse the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) during the December 10 final public consultation on the bill at the provincial capitol in Buluan town.

The congressional hearing on the proposed law shall be presided over by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member ad-hoc legislative bloc handling the bill.

Reps. Sandra Sema and Zajid Mangudadatu, of the 1st and 2nd  congressional districts of Maguindanao, respectively, are both expecting  representatives from the local Moro, Christian and lumad sectors to participate in the May 10 BBL consultation in Buluan, the new provincial capital.

Maguindanao’s appointed deputy governor, Ramil Dilangalen, said the provincial chief executive, Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, has directed his 36 constituent-mayors to participate in the activity.

The draft BBL, which President Benigno Aquino III certified as an urgent bill, is the enabling measure for the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a new Bangsamoro political entity based on the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB).

“The provincial leadership of Maguindanao is for the speedy passage of this bill and so are all of the local government units in the province,” Dilangalen said.

One of the 36 mayors in the province, Ramon Piang, Sr. of North Upi, had, in fact, served as member of the government panel that crafted along with the MILF the wealth and power-sharing annex to the October 15, 2013 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB).

The FAB was the prelude to the CAB, which is touted as the final peace compact between Malacañang and the rebel group.

Gov. Mangudadatu said he and his constituent-mayors, vice-mayors and members of different municipal councils will again endorse Malacañang’s diplomatic overture with the MILF during the December 10 BBL consultation in Buluan.

“All is set as far as our preparations for this gathering are concerned,” the governor said.

Gov. Mangudadatu said part of their preparations were initial dialogues on the objectives of the BBL consultation with local officials, among them members of a vaunted cross-section economic planning board, the Iranun Development Council, which is chaired by Mayor Ibrahim Ibay of Parang town in the first district of the province.

Members of the Maguindanao provincial board, which is chaired by Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat, are also expected to join in the day-long event.

Sinsuat is also chairman of the Association of Lumads, Iranons and Maguindanaons, a peace advocacy group supporting the draft BBL.

Besides incumbent ARMM officials, only Mangudadatu, from among the five provincial governors of ARMM, has openly been campaigning for the enactment into law of the draft BBL.

The ARMM covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.

In his December 1 state of the region address, ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman gave the on-going bilateral GPH-MILF peace initiative a “vote of confidence.”

He called on ARMM’s culturally-pluralistic communities to support the passage of the draft BBL, even if it would boot him out of power.

Hataman said he and members of his cabinet will vacate their posts, once the draft BBL becomes a law and is ratified via a plebiscite in the proposed Bangsamoro core territory, in keeping with a transition process agreed by the government and the MILF.

Makmod Mending, Jr., ARMM’s regional agriculture secretary, said they are also expecting representatives from Maguindanao’s fishing and peasant communities to join in the BBL consultation.

“These two sectors are major key stakeholders to the Mindanao peace process. It is the reason why we in the ARMM government have actively been implementing various interventions meant to empower them in support of the development agenda of the proposed Bangsamoro political entity,” Mending said.

Gov. Mangudadatu and his constituent-leaders in Maguindanao first unanimously endorsed the draft BBL about two months ago during a peace dialogue in Gen. Santos City, jointly presided over by the governor, GPH chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles.

Deles on Wednesday urged Maguindanao’s Moro, Christian and lumad sectors to send representatives to the forthcoming BBL consultation in Buluan municipality.

Deles said she is elated with the continuing outpouring of support for Malacañang’s continuing diplomatic engagement with the MILF from Maguindanao’s “tri-people” communities, which is comprised of Muslims, Christians and indigenous non-Moro highland groups.

Maguindanao is a known bastion of the MILF, where the group has guerilla camps in all of its 36 municipalities.