Bangsamoro leaders, CSOs and other stakeholders laud Pres. Duterte’s willingness to certify BBL as urgent bill

CAMP DARAPANAN, SULTAN KUDARAT, MAGUINDANAO-(September 23, 2017). The Legislative - Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) met last Wednesday at Malacañang where President Duterte has finally agreed to certify as urgent the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). 

For this latest development, some leaders in the Bangsamoro, Civil Society Organizations, and other stakeholders lauded the wisdom and decision of the president.     

Earlier, President Rodrigo R. Duterte committed to support and " husband " the approval by congress of the BBL, and for that purpose had a meeting with the MILF leaders, and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chaired by MILF 1st Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar last September 14 to discuss the game plan for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Law. 

The President described BBL as the legal instrument to lay the foundation of lasting peace in Mindanao and a significant step to end the centuries of hatred, mistrust and injustice that cost and affect the lives of Filipinos.      

But Civil Society Organizations have mixed feelings on the recent development. Datu Ali Ibrahim, President of AFAD - Mindanao , Inc. said , " Pres. Duterte having thought of the urgency of passing the BBL this time is sure a good development. But the doubt on such so - called commitment is always there. As our old folks used to say in their vernacular " Endo bu madtalo a pulot amengka kabel'bedan." (We are sure rice is sticky if it is already cooked and molded into rice cake or " suman ".) That means, such realization of urgency can only be proven true when the BBL in its entirety is passed into law by congress."

Sheik Moidjoddin K. Talusob , Secretary General of the Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organization , Inc.(FBCSO) commented , " I hope this is not a joke. Peace Process is a serious business and needs immediate attention. Violent extremism is a phenomenon and we don’t want to become the next target after Marawi. "

Nasser Pulindao, President of Bangsamoro Center for Empowerment and Governance, Inc welcomed the development, " This is a positive development in the peace process but on the other hand it can open again the floodgates of anti - Moro sentiments, prejudices and bigotry against the Moro people."

For his part, Chair Mohagher Iqbal of MILF Peace Implementing Panel said, " This is a remarkable step towards the success of the peace process. I thanked the President for his wisdom in certifying the Draft BBL as urgent bill. Building trust and confidence is a two-way traffic. Hopefully, if our Honorable Legislators will look at the positive side of the bill, its letter and spirit and leave legal intricacies to the Supreme Court to interpret, in shaa Allah (God willing), we will be having a Bangsamoro Law by end of this year."

The Bangsamoro bill aims for the establishment of Bangsamoro Political Entity replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that will have strong political and fiscal autonomy.