COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be submitted to Congress when it resumes session in July, top officials said.
“At present, efforts have already been made to coordinate with the Senate and House leadership to ensure that the draft BBL is submitted to Congress when sessions resume in July,” said a joint statement of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chair Mohagher Iqbal.
Congress, which will legislate the BBL, adjourns sine die this week, to convene again in July in time for the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Aquino.
The BTC, organized by President Aquino principally to draft the Basic Law, submitted the full text of the historic document to Malacañang on April 22, 2014. It has since undergone review by President Aquino’s legal team.
“We acknowledge the urgency behind the immediate passage of the BBL. However, we also recognize that a thorough, extensive and comprehensive review of the draft law’s numerous provisions is a necessary part of the process to ensure that these are consistent with what the parties agreed upon in the 17 years of peace negotiation,” Ochoa and Iqbal’s statement said.
“We believe that investing time in this process will redound to the benefit of all, laying the foundations for peace, prosperity, and progress in Mindanao––a precious legacy that will be cherished by generations of Filipinos, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao, for years to come,” it added.
The joint statement was issued Tuesday in response to mounting public clamor for the Office of the President to already reveal the drafted Basic Law.
The Basic Law will be the main instrument to implement the political settlement to the Moro rebellion in Mindanao forged by the MILF and the government through 17 years of negotiations.
When enacted by Congress and ratified by voters in the proposed territory, the Basic Law will serve as charter of the Bangsamoro government that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
Last week, presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Quintos-Deles gave assurance the political roadmap agreed by the government and the MILF institutes “a process which will ensure, within an acceptable and doable timeframe, that the BBL which will be enacted by Congress...”
Deles also disclosed that in the process of reviewing the draft Basic Law, the Office of the President has been holding meetings with various Congressional leaders.
She asked for patience with the process thats the Basic Law is being subjected to, saying that the nation was able to wait for 17 years to achieve a mutually binding and acceptable self-governance formula to end the Moro rebellion.
“We can be bold in taking a few more days, if not weeks, to ensure a more refined and strengthened draft BBL to be stewarded by the leadership of both Houses of Congress through a legislative process and thereafter for ratification through plebiscite,” Deles stressed.
She also assured that President Aquino is determined to wield the democratic process to install the Bangsamoro as a partner in ensuring common prosperity, collective security, and good governance in the four corners of the Philippine archipelago.
“We in the government take our shared journey to peace through the Bangsamoro very seriously,” she said.