Submission of BBL postponed again

The first schedule to submit the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was on June 1, but during that time, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) was still hotly debating the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). June 14 and 15 were proposed as alternative dates. They were suggested by BTC Chair Ghazali Jaafar during the meeting with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on May 29. He estimated that by that time the final draft of the BBL would be finalized and ready for signatures by all the commissioners.

However, there was no concurrence on either of the two dates by the Office of the President (OP), which has the final say on the scheduling. Then later the dates June 16, 22 and 24 were also mentioned, and then finally 28. The last one officially came from the OP.

For this historic event, members of the BTC and its Secretariat made simple but sentimental preparation for the submission. Like the previous submission on September 14, 2014 by the first BTC chaired by Mohagher Iqbal, now a member of the current commission, a modest ceremony is expected in Malacañang Palace. Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, and other members of Congress, as well as members of the international community attended.

Again, the submission was postponed to July 10 – and this is still tentative. The reason given for this is the uncertainty of the presence of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel, the two most important personalities as far as legislation, and for this matter, the passage of BBL in Congress, are concerned.

So be it! The government has the final say on this. The BTC has to wait; after all, it is mainly part of the official family.

Nevertheless, for ordinary Moro, such a litany of postponements do not bode well. The ghost of the previous BBL still lingers well in their minds. If there was Mamasapano then, now we have Marawi City. What an unhappy consequence!

Of course, we do not question intention; in fact, we say here that the postponement is for good, or for reasons only the inner circle of government knows. With our trust to the president, the MILF entertains no doubt about the pristine intention of the president to pass and solve the Bangsamoro Problem or Question during his time. We see no reason at all why he has other intention than to be truthful to our people. He is not only so consistent, but he is also very frank and forthright.

But we still believe things can still be improved, especially in setting up of schedules. The best system is when it can still fly under turbulent times. We hope July 10 will be the final rendezvous for submission of the BBL.