Duterte “ready to carve out area for Bangsamoro:” Sec. Dureza

“President Rodrigo Duterte “will even go to the extent of resorting to an executive issuance to grant self-rule for Bangsamoro if Congress fails to approve the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL),” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said Wednesday (January 16).

In a report by MindaNews on January 17, Sec. Dureza said, Pres. Duterte on Monday afternoon told MILF leaders led by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim that he is “ready to carve out through an executive order the area for the Bangsamoro for their self-rule.”

 In the same meeting, Pres Duterte also stressed that “he can use the inherent powers of the Presidency” to grant self-rule for the Moro people. 

Dureza also narrated to Mindanews that the President “reassured” the MILF that he would push for an early passage of the Bangsamoro law ahead of the shift to federalism.

The 1987 Constitution provides for the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera.  Congress passed the Organic Act, RA 6734 in 1989 creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but only four provinces voted for inclusion in the ARMM then. After the signing of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, the ARMM law was amended by RA 9054 and in a plebiscite in 2001, the ARMM was expanded to five provinces and two cities.

Meanwhile, During the hearing on the proposed revision of the 1987 Constitution in Congress on Wednesday, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution said that a “Bangsamoro autonomous state to be created under the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will serve as a test whether the country is ready for a shift to the federal system of government,” a report by PDI said on Friday, January 18

In the same hearing, Davide proposed working first on the Bangsamoro as a model state before considering the possibility of shifting to federalism.

“To consider a federal system for the entire Philippines without having first sort of pilot, or an example of one will be very, very difficult”, Davide said as quoted by PDI.