MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte called on the 17th Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 25.
Provisions that are highly contested, however, can be taken out.
“Pass BBL minus the constitutional issues you do not want, that are contentious,” he told legislators.
The BBL is based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which was signed in 2014 following 17 years of negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). (READ: The Bangsamoro peace deal at a glance)
Its passage was stalled in the 16th Congress, after the Mamasapano clash which claimed the lives of more than 60 people in January 2015.
Emphasizing that the law is the “only solution” to the crisis in Mindanao, Duterte urged the legislators to give what can correct the “historical injustice” in the region.
“Iyong BBL, ipasa na natin (let’s pass it) because believe me, that’s the only solution for Mindanao,” he said. “Sleep on it, ponder on it.”
Conflict in Mindanao – especially in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – that has spanned almost 4 decades has claimed more than 100,000 lives.
Areas affected, meanwhile, have long been suffering from poverty and lack of development. (READ: From Marcos to Aquino: The cost of war in Mindanao)
Presidential peace adviser Jesus “Jess” Dureza, vowing continuity from the past administration, said government will honor agreements set with the Moro rebels.
Dureza, however, previously declared that under the peace road map approved on July 18, the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) will reconvene to propose another law that will abide by the CAB.
Work on the new law, he added, will be simultaneous with moves to shift to federalism. – Rappler.com