MANILA - A Bangsamoro Basic Law is being eyed before President Aquino steps down in 2016. Some lawmakers, meanwhile, said peace and order should be prioritized in the implementation of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Speaking on ANC's Beyond Politics, lawyer Raissa Jajurie, a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said she is optimistic that the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be finished within the first half of the year.
Jajurie said President Aquino had given them marching orders to complete drafting the law soon to give lawmakers enough time to discuss the matter.
She said the Transition Commission is still assessing if there is a need to change the Constitution for the Bangsamoro Law.
Under the Framework Agreement, the Bangsamoro Basic Law must be ratified by voters within the territory through a plebiscite before 2016.
By the 2016 elections, the Bangsamoro people must already vote for their ministerial government.
"We were thinking we could do that within the first-second quarter of the year this year. But upon our meeting, after our meeting with the President, I think the marching order now is to do it even earlier, if possible in the first quarter," she said.
"Isa po sa mandato ng Bangsamoro Transition Commission is to assess whether there is a need to amend the Constitution. Since we have not yet finished the drafting of the Basic Law, at this point we do not know that yet whether it is necessary or not. But we do have that mandate, and if we find that it is necessary, pwede po kami mag-recommend for the amendment."
For their part, House Committee on Peace chairman Jim Hataman-Salliman and Amina Rasul, president of the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy, maintained that decommissioning of arms and peace and order should be prioritized in the implementation of the peace agreement.
"May particular dito na dapat ma-appreciate natin, especially yung sa normalization at tsaka yung decommissioning. Ngayon lang ito nangyari, kahit na previous agreement hindi talaga na-tackle yung issue ng decommissioning," Hataman-Salliman said.
Rasul said: "It's really nice to talk about decommissioning but if your timeline keeps stretching and you cannot get the loose firearms that in the hands of extremist groups and kidnap-for-ransom groups or even the loose -- well, they're not exactly loose firearms but firearms that have been lent to certain local government executives in administrations past -- if you cannot even get these back, and this was loaned by government, how do you exactly work out decommissioning?"
Both said there must be no alternative but peace in Mindanao.