President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa on July 24, 2017, reiterates his unwaivering support for the armed forces and the police officers. Valerie Escalera / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Duterte fails to mention the urgency of passing the Bangsamoro law during SONA

Peace groups and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expected President Rodrigo Duterte to call on Congress to immediately pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) during his two-hour State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, but no such call was made, Mindanews said in its report on July 25.

What the president said was that, “Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is key to just and lasting in peace in Mindanao”. Moro TV viewers and stakeholders were dismayed for not hearing from the president the urgency of passing the Bangsamoro bill by congress.

But OPAPP Sec Jesus Dureza, Jr. told MindaNews last Sunday that the President would certify the bill as urgent. The President may likely issue a written certification of urgency but his call on Congress in joint session during the SONA was awaited and expected to the push needed for the Bangsamoro law’s passage before the end of the year.

In the same article by Mindanews, it says that Senate President Koko Pimentel and HoR Speaker Alvarez during their opening speeches on the Second Regular Session of the 17th Congress on Monday morning mentioned the BBL on the latter part of their calls for passage of priority bills.

In the said priority bills, the BBL falls in fifth, while federalism is in sixth

For his part, Speaker Alvarez in his speech at the House cited at least eight other legislative measures before saying, “last but not the least,” the need to “concentrate our efforts in passing two legislative measures that hold the key to lasting peace and prosperity for our country — BBL and federalism.

The Bangsamoro law, he said, “will be the basis for creating a homeland for our Bangsamoro brothers and sisters.”