MANILA, Philippines – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman welcomed the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress but said the work is not over.
Hataman said the final version of the BBL should comply with the peace agreement the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed in 2014.
“We in the ARMM continue to push for a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is compliant with the previously signed Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, as the passed measure is brought to the table of the bicameral conference scheduled next month,” Hataman said in a statement.
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed versions that watered down the proposed powers of the new Bangsamoro region that the law will create. (READ: Bangsamoro region ‘lesser than ARMM’ feared)
Below is the complete statement of the governor:
We welcome the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. This recent development, and the processes that have brought us to this point, had been sustained by the strength of generations and the faith of millions.
We express our gratitude to the 17th Congress, and to the men and women who stayed the course to pass this law. We have every confidence that the final version of BBL will remain true—both to the spirit and the letter—of earlier frameworks and agreements with the stakeholders of the Bangsamoro narrative.
We in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao continue to push for a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is compliant with the previously signed Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, as the passed measure is brought to the table of the bicameral conference scheduled next month.
The BBL should bring forth an institution that is capable of responding to the challenge of the times and to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro, unimpaired and free of the maladies that have afflicted the ARMM.
The BBL is envisioned to codify not only a law, but a history of struggle and sacrifice—by countless mujahideen, their families, and fellow Moros, as well as all of the Filipino people who were unwavering in their hope and their actions for peace, social justice, inclusiveness, and progress.
A law finds life in the commitment of our leaders—leaders from the halls of the national government all the way to our communities. It needs to be upheld constantly.
While the passage of the BBL on third and final reading is a step forward towards the realization of our hopes for the Bangsamoro, we recognize that the BBL will remain a piece of paper if we cease putting in the hard work it takes to implement the law.
Let us not cease being vigilant. Let us ensure that this law works for our people, so we will not reopen old wounds, or old fears and despairs that can be exploited by those who wish to take us from the path of solidarity and moderation.
This passage is not the end. Rather it is an encouraging milestone on our journey to peace, our unfolding story of self-determination. Our goal as we move forward is to redouble our efforts to accurately translate the words of the BBL into actions and decisions. We owe this to those who came before us. Even more so, we owe this to the coming generations of Moros and our fellow Filipinos.