Duterte: Revised BBL would end 'centuries of hatred, injustice'

Ruth Abbey Gita

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday received the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC), which is aimed at pursuing peace and order in Mindanao.

The 21-member BTC, the body tasked to craft the revised Moro law, submitted the proposed measure to Duterte at the Palace's Rizal Hall.

At the ceremonial turn-over of the proposed BBL, Duterte said the draft BBL stands as proof of resolve to "set aside our differences and stand united to achieve a common goal of peace."

"This moment is a significant step forward in our quest to end centuries of hatred, mistrust and injustice that caused and affected the lives of millions of Filipinos," the President said.

"The draft Bangsamoro Basic law embodies our shared aspiration of a peaceful, orderly, and harmonious nation. After the age of armed struggle and violence, we will soon come up with the constitutionally consistent, legal document that will lay the foundation to establishing the real and lasting peace in Mindanao," he added.

The crafting of enabling BBL is part of the implementation process of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) inked between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2014.

The proposed law will give flesh to the CAB and establish a Bangsamoro entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The first draft measure for the Bangsamoro people was not passed in the 16th Congress.

MILF vice chairperson for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar, who chaired the BTC, said the revised BBL is now "more inclusive," with widest inclusivity of all important stakeholders.

"[The draft BBL] reflects the diversity of interests of the Bangsamoro people, non-Bangsamoro indigenous people... These interests are united under one goal – establish a just, dignified and lasting peace," Jaafar said.

"We need the passage of this proposed BBL into law so we can start rebuilding our lives. We belive that in your time and under your leadership, we, the Moro brothers and sisters, would see [its successful passage]," he added.

Irene Santiago, chair of government implementing panel for Bangsamoro Accord, has said that the BTC ensure that the BBL under the Duterte administration is a “better version.”

Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza said the completion of drafting the final version of the proposed Moro law was "another historic milestone" that aims to achieve sustainable peace and development in the country.

In a separate statement, Dureza said he had high hopes that the President would certify the draft BBL as urgent when he presents it to Congress during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24.

"I am confident the President will declare the draft BBL as a priority measure in his Sona. This has been his long-standing commitment to the Bangsamoro people," he said.

MILF chairperson Haj Ebrahim Murad said the Moro people are hoping that the President would pass the measure, which will correct "historical injustice."

Murad said the group trusted Duterte that he would fulfill his commitment to ensure the passage of the draft BBL.

"We put our trust and confidence in the process of government," he said. "By this document, Mr. President, you would have taken the first stage in correcting the historical injustice committed against our people." (SunStar Philippines)