MANILA -- Government officials, who have been in Mindanao for quite some time, expressed hope for Congress to pass the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) without delay, for the good of the people in Central Mindanao.
The 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the body tasked to craft the revised BBL, turned over on Monday, July 17, the new draft of the BBL before President Rodrigo Duterte at the Heroes Hall in Malacañan Palace.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said he believed that the new draft law is much better than the one submitted to Congress in 2014.
He added that Duterte will certify the revised law as urgent before the Congress.
Dureza said that the president will declare the new draft law as a priority measure in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24, Monday, as this has been his long standing commitment to the Bangsamoro people.
Bayan Muna partylist representative lawyer Carlos Isagani Zarate, meanwhile, welcomed the new draft of the BBL as a mode to address the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao several years ago.
"The challenge now is in Congress. We have to learn what happened on the BBL submitted to the Congress in 2014," Zarate said, adding the BBL in the previous administration was described as mangled beyond recognition during the turnover.
To the advocates of the peace process in Congress, Zarate is hoping for their support to pass the law, to also give light to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Eduardo Año also echoed a similar response on the new draft law, saying he finds it acceptable than the previous one, adding that AFP has been looking forward for a lasting peace.
"Sa tingin ko madali na itong maipapasa ng Congress. Inaasahan natin na magkaroon ng permanenteng kapayapaan sa Mindanao kung saan may mga MILF lalong-lalo na sa (I think the Congress will approved it quickly. We expected a permanent peace in Mindanao where there is MILF and in) Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm)," Año said.
He said as far as he is concerned, since the negotiation of the two parties, there were no armed conflict reported in Central Mindanao.
The chief of staff said he hoped for the success of the new BBL to end the conflict in the entire Mindanao.
"Ang MILF naman ay ayaw din ng gulo (The MILF also doesn’t want any conflict)," he said.
Duterte, in his speech during the turnover rites, assured that he will fully support the legislation of the proposed BBL until a truly autonomous Bangsamoro entity is created.
The president said the turnover of the BBL marks "a new milestone" in the country's history that will stand as proof of everyone's resolve to set aside differences and stand united to achieve a common goal of peace. (ICT)