President Duterte expresses openness for BBL passage if bid for federalism fails

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he is open to passing the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) once the Filipino people disapprove through a plebiscite the shift to a federal form of government.

Duterte gave his statement during Mindanao Hariraya Eidul Fit’r 2016 at SMX Convention Center in Davao City  on Friday (July 8) attended by more than 800 Muslim peace advocates, Ulama (Islamic scholars), traditional leaders, political leaders, government workers, academe and professionals coming from different regions of Mindanao.

“I foresee that towards the end of the year, we’d be able to come up with the framework, kung paano gawin ang federalism,” he said. “But, if the Filipino nation and a plebiscite would not want it, then I am ready to concede whatever is there in the BBL Law,” the President underscored.

During the campaign, Duterte advocated the importance of shifting the form of governance into federalism as it will give more powers to the localities contrary to the current highly-centralized system.

The BBL is a draft law crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission which failed to pass Congress during the Aquino administration.

Once enacted into law, the BBL will pave way for the establishment of autonomous Bangsamoro region with greater degree of autonomy.

The Duterte Administration is bent to hold amendments of the constitution through Constitutional Convention in order to change the system of government into federal form.

It envisions to providing the Muslim citizens of the country a Bangsamoro state under the federal system.

The President said he is going to meet Moro national Liberation Front founding chair Prof. Nur Misuari. He said part of his plan is a reconfiguration of a territory for Misuari-led MNLF.

For the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Duterte said he values word of honor citing, “A promise is a promise." 

“It will not come overnight. Certainly, it will not come next year. Probably, it will be something about two to three years from now. But I assure you that something will change before I end my term,” Duterte said.

MILF First Vice Chair Ghadzali Jaffar and lawyer Bong Parcasio from the MNLF were present in the event.