Duterte to seek special session on BBL, House Majority Leader says ‘no need’

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday (Nov 27) said he will ask Congress to hold special session on BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) for its speedy passage, however House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas replied on Tuesday saying there is no need for a special session as the Lower House targets to pass the bill by March next year.

The BBL is the legislative measure that seeks to establish an autonomous Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“I’d like to address myself to the nation this time. I plead to all Filipinos listening now to understand the problem (on Bangsamoro),” the President said during the Bangsamoro Assembly on Monday held at the Old Capitol in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao where more than a million Moro people attended.

The country’s chief executive related the historical injustice committed against the Bangsamoro people way back during intrusion of Spaniards until the coming of imperialism that “created a monster by giving away the lands and adopting, I said, ‘yung mga homestead, ‘yung mga cadastral land. And sadly to the exclusion of many.”

“And most of them, who were left behind or left out were really the Lumads here and most of the Moro people,” he explained.

Duterte further related, “But the fight for the territory began. And the dream of the Moro people was just to retake what they were or they had at that time. Violence after violence after violence.”

The President described the Bangsamoro issue as the one of the hardest in his administration and he enjoined Filipino people to understand the Bangsamoro problem.

In solving the Bangsamoro problem, Duterte disclosed there are drafts coming from MNLF Founding Chairman Nur Misuari, the academe and everybody else and said the process ‘should be inclusive’ and nothing is left behind.

Duterte said what is important is that the state will be able to deliver an arrangement acceptable to the Moro people.

“I will work very hard for it. I will ask Congress to a special session just to hear you talk about this in Congress,” the President said which draw applause from the audience which came from across Mindanao and the island provinces.

In a report by Philippine News Agency, Fariñas said, “We will request the President na siguro hindi na kailangan ng special session (that maybe there's no need for a special session). We will try to finish it before we adjourn on March 21."

He related that the BBL is now being handled by local government, peace and reconciliation, and Muslim affairs committees of the House.

Moro leaders present during the assembly pitched their call for the speedy passage of the BBL as it will address the historical injustice committed against the Bangsamoro people, provide a governance acceptable to them and will also address the emerging violent extremism which pose a big threat to national security.

The passage of the BBL will materialize the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a peace deal signed by the MILF and the Philippine government in 2014 after more than 17 years of peace talks.