2018 best time to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law – MILF
MANILA, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Sunday, January 14, said it hopes that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will finally be passed in 2018.
MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said Congress should pass the proposed measure before the term of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) assemblymen ends in 2019, in order to prevent problems.
"Kapag nagwakas ang termino ng mga leaders na ito na wala pang batas ang Bangsamoro government ay magkakaproblema ang gobyerno sapagkat magiging vacuum ang governance ng ARMM by 2019," he said, adding that the perfect time to pass the BBL is by March or June so it can be ratified through a plebiscite right away.
(Once the term of ARMM assemblymen ends and there is still no law passed for the Bangsamoro government, there would be problems because there would be a vacuum in governance by 2019.)
Jafaar, also the chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), assured the public that they are coordinating with lawmakers to speed up the process. The House of Representatives, in November 2017, vowed to pass the BBL by March 2018.
MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, meanwhile, said now is the perfect time to pass the BBL as both Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez are from Mindanao.
"The President's allies in both the lower and upper house are in control of Congress so he can do it if he wants to pass the BBL, and we are very sure about that," Iqbal said.
In December 2017, however, President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not confident that the BBL is allowed by the 1987 Constitution.
Consistent with CAB
While changes in the submitted BBL draft are part of the legislative process, Iqbal cautioned against changes that are not consistent with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – the "only political solution [to] the Moro problem."
The CAB, the basis for the BBL, was signed in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations between the Philippine government and the MILF. (READ: The Bangsamoro peace deal at a glance)
The passage of the BBL was stalled, however, after the Mamasapano clash which killed more than 60 people in January 2015.
"If the law passed by Congress will not address the concerns and aspirations of the Moro people then, you know, giving bad medicine is worse than not giving medicine at all," Iqbal said.
"We want a good BBL that would really address the problems of Mindanao." – Rappler.com