Bangsamoro CSO’s to stage big day as final push for BBL

COTABATO CITY. June 27, 2016 -  Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations led by League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) is set to stage a mass assembly in Cotabato City dubbed as Bangsamoro Peoples’ Peace Rally: A Final Push for BBL slated on July 6. The rally will start at 4PM at Cotabato City Plaza.

According to an announcement circulating on social media, the rally is the final salvo of all intensified efforts towards pushing an acceptable BBL that truly embodies the aspirations of the Bangsamoro People for their rights to self-determination.  

Two weeks from now, the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) Senate Bill No. 1717, and Substituted House Bill No. 6475 will reconcile their respective versions of the BBL.

Last May 30, both Chambers of Congress passed in 3rd and final readings Senate Bill No 1717, and Substituted House Bill No. 6474 that some observers, nay members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) say are far different from BTC-drafted version with major deletions and amendments made by lawmakers.

“What they passed is not acceptable to us,” one CSO leader who refused to be named said. It is far different from what we are pushing for,” he added. 

One leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said that the versions passed by both Houses of Congress are not in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), the Final Peace Agreement of GPH and MILF that ought to be respected and honored by both parties.    

Under the two versions passed by congress (Senate and House), the powers that are already granted to ARMM in RA 9054 were also deleted or diminished that the BBL becomes diluted, hence the true spirit and intention of the law did not correspond to the Bangsamoro aspiration.       

During a forum organized by OPAPP recently in Cotabato City, BTC Chair Ghazali Jaafar made a strong statement that says, “the MILF did not ask for the peace negotiation. It was the government who requested for the peaceful settlement of the Bangsamoro question which they agreed in good faith.”       

For his part, the Chair of MILF Peace Implementing Panel Mohagher Iqbal is consistent in his assertion that BTC-drafted BBL may not be a perfect law but it answers most of the Bangsamoro issues and aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.      

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in his previous statements had always reminded the Legislative Branch that the passage of a good BBL will correct the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people. 

What is left now for the Bangsamoro people is their fervent hope, and prayers that everything that was lost will be regained in the upcoming Bicameral Conference.

No less than MILF Chairman Al haj Murad Ebrahim in a statement said that, " the BBL passed by both chambers are " very diluted " and may create a Bangsamoro political entity that will be less autonomous than the ARMM but hope to regain those provisions we had lost this coming Bicameral deliberations scheduled on July 9 - 13."

The moment of truth comes during the Bicameral Conference wherein committee members will deliberate to settle, reconcile or thresh out differences or disagreements on any provisions of BBL that both chambers approved.

The question is the legislative process wherein the general rule of the bicameral conference is they cannot deliberate other than what was already approved and passed by both chambers. 

But there is another view and has already a precedence that bicameral conference is considered " third chamber " wherein the members of the BiCam Committee could agree among themselves to deliberate on matters not part of the approved versions hence, could enhance or improve or restore whatever provisions they deleted as long as it is for the general welfare and does not violates the constitution.

The future of the Bangsamoro people is now in the hands BiCam Conference Committee to make or unmake, to put an end to Bangsamoro Question. It is now their best opportunity to leave a landmark legacy to the Bangsamoro people that cannot be forgotten in the history of the country, and the Moro People. 

The CSOs and the Moro people count on the wisdom of members of the BiCam Conference Committee, and Pres. Duterte.

For the Bangsamoro people, it is enough to say, " Hasbi Allah wa nemal wakeel " (Allah is sufficient to us).