Friday, September 12, 2014
PNoy Submits Draft Bangsamoro Law
The envisioned Bangsamoro political entity is one step closer to reality.
After months of review and refinement, President Aquino finally submitted yesterday the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress with a fervent appeal for its swift passage.
The draft bill seeks to establish the Bangsamoro political entry that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which President Aquino had earlier described as a failed experiment.
The President hailed the submission of the draft BBL law to Congress as “another step toward a more peaceful and more progressive Mindanao.”
“Through this proposed BBL, we are giving shape to the enactment of the principles behind our Framework Agreement,” he said, referring to the historic peace agreement signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Under the draft law, the Bangsamoro government will have 58 “exclusive powers,” including the power over ancestral domain and natural resources as well as power to regulate power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities in the entity.
However, the planned laying down of arms of the MILF was excluded in the draft law.
Although excluded in the draft BBL, the decommissioning of the MILF forces would still be implemented by the government, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer said.
“The proposed law is about the establishment of the Bangsamoro. The decommissioning will be implemented by the government,” Ferrer said in Filipino, adding: “This doesn’t need a law to implement.”
In seeking its immediate passage, the President asserted that the bill seeking to create a new self-rule region in Mindanao is “fair, just, and acceptable to all.” It also complies with the Constitution and the peace agreement by the government and the MILF.
“To the honorable members of Congress: We understand the need to thoroughly review the proposed bill. We ask Congress, however, to pass this bill in the soonest possible time,” the President said at the ceremonial turnover of the draft BBL to the leaders of Congress in Malacañang.
“If we are able to legislate this, we can give our Moro brothers enough time to prepare, thus enabling them to nurture the seeds of meaningful governance which were planted for the Bangsamoro,” he added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed full support for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that seeks to provide a political solution to the conflict in Mindanao.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr. is hopeful that the passage of the BBL and subsequently the establishment of the Bangsamoro entity would finally give Mindanao the peace that has eluded the region for more than four decades.
The 122-page priority bill, crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and later reviewed by the Office of the President, was given to Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. at the Palace ceremony. Aquino had earlier promised to certify as urgent the bill to hasten its enactment.
The government originally wanted to submit the final draft BBL to Congress last May. The schedule, however, was changed a number of times since the two peace panels had to thresh out certain issues, including language differences and some unconstitutional provisions in the first draft.
In explaining the delay in the submission of the draft BBL, the President admitted there was a “long and thorough process” to study every provision of the measure.
“I assure you: The Bangsamoro Basic Law was crafted to be fair, just, and acceptable to all, whether they are Moros, Lumads, or Christians,” Aquino said.
“Now that we have a proposed bill, I fully believe that it is in accordance with our Constitution and with the principles of our Framework Agreement, and that it reflects our shared efforts towards growth that leaves no one behind,” he added.
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