PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte would use his "residual powers" should the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) fail to hurdle Congress, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza said Wednesday, March 28.
Dureza said Duterte made the statement when he met with the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and government peace panel in Davao City on Tuesday night, March 27.
Dureza, who was present at the meeting, said the President reiterated his vow to push for an "enhanced" government structure under a new Bangsamoro entity that will be created through draft BBL.
He said the Chief Executive was determined to enact into law the proposed Bangsamoro law "to solve the root causes of the Moro rebellion and address the historical injustice suffered by the Bangsamoro over generations."
"The President said he would assist even to the extent of relaying to both chambers of Congress his determination to help push for the passage of the BBL that is compliant with the comprehensive agreement of the Bangsamoro and as close as possible to the new draft law submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission," he said.
"In the event this does not take place in Congress, he said he would go to the extent of even exercising his residual powers through administrative directives to fulfill this commitment," he added.
Duterte's met with MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar and MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagber Iqbal after he raised doubts on Monday, March 26, that the proposed BBL would bring unity to the Moro people, who are divided into several ethnic groups.
The President nevertheless said he wanted the BBL to be passed into law this year.
"That is now my problem while the BBL is processed in Congress. And when the time comes, who heads what?... Whether we do it by regions of the tribe or a separate governing authority. I have to fathom it," Duterte said during his visit to Sulu Monday.
"That's why I need to talk to you. And I want to finish it this year," he added.
Dureza said Duterte's "timely" meeting with concerned parties dispelled "negative speculations" that arose following the latter's visit to Sulu.
He added that the President pledged to come up with an "inclusive" Moro law to ensure that all tribes and sectors, including non-Muslims, "will benefit from the new BBL when it is finally entrenched."
The draft BBL crafted by 21-man BTC was submitted to Duterte on July 27,2017 and forwarded to Congress in August the same year. The measure is still pending in Congress.
The proposed Moro law aims to address the historical injustices committed against the Moro people through a new autonomy that will replace the current Autonomous Region on the Muslim Mindanao.
The passage of the draft BBL is part of the political track of implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the Aquino government and the MILF in 2014.
Dureza said he received commitment from the Senate and the House of Representatives to fast track the passage of the proposed law.
"Former president (and now Pampanga Representative) Gloria Arroyo, in a phone conversation with me and Kagi Murad, committed to support the BTC-drafted version that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez authored. She said she would withdraw authorship of her previously signed bill to fast track the approval of the new version," he said.
"Senate sub-committee chair Senator Miguel Zubiri, who was then in London also said the Senate would act on the bill before Congress adjourns sine die on May 15 this year." he added. (SunStar Philippines)