Aquino hopes to transmit to Congress draft Bangsamoro bill before Sona

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Friday, June 27, 2014


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is eyeing to forward to Congress the draft bill for envisioned Bangsamoro before his State of the Nation Address (Sona) later next month.

Aquino told reporters in Iloilo City that during his brief meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Hiroshima, Japan where they both attended a peace conference, they discussed the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now being reviewed by his legal counsels.

"Basically, we discussed the output of the Transition Commission at saka medyo mabilis dahil that was an unscheduled meeting and I think I had something like a ten-minute gap. So may broadstrokes on how to come up with the basic law that will ensure swift passage in Congress," he said.

The 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission led by MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal prepared the draft BBL, which was submitted to OP earlier this year.

Aquino, however, acknowledged that his legal counsels have to thoroughly review the draft, noting that "the devil is in the details."

"Now, we're putting in all of the details and I asked him (Murad) if it would be possible to meet sometime next week either their panels or we, in particular, or our designated representatives to thresh it out and come up with that proposed measure and give it to Congress even before the Sona," he said.

Aquino's Sona will be on July 28 when Congress resumes session.

The President admitted that it was taking a bit long to review the draft BBL because "there's a need to further refine the language, so that it really states a meeting of the minds of both parties."

He clarified that there was no problem on the constitutionality of each provision of the draft measure.

"From the start, the Constitution was a guiding document in crafting the Framework Agreement so, the Basic Law that gives the details should also be consistent," he said.

With the planned meeting of both parties, he said this could hasten the process.

He also noted that Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles met with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. on Thursday to fast-track the process of coming up with the proposed measure that both parties can fully support and endorse.

While it is Congress that will pass the bill, the President assured that his administration is exerting efforts to immediately come up with a law.

"I have to work with the co-equal branch. But, I can assure the Filipino people that we will be exerting all efforts to ensure that this measure is passed in a timely manner because the dream still is to give the new Bangsamoro government time to demonstrate its abilities and the time that they need as a minimum is a year and six months," he said.

"So, we're hoping that all the steps will be done that they can sit already in office by January of 2015," Aquino added.

The President also vowed to go through each and every one of those pages of about six-inch draft BBL this coming Sunday.

"And hopefully, I can be of help to get both sides to really be fully supportive of the measure," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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