New BBL draft 'truly democratic,' says Jaafar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2017 04:00 PM

MANILA - Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chair Ghazali Jaafar describes the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as truly democratic.

Jaafar assured that the new BBL draft is reflective of the interest of the people, not only of the Bangsamoros but also of the indigenous people, Christians and other stakeholders.

"This is a truly democratic BBL. It represents the interest of all the stakeholders in holders in area -- of course, the Muslim Bangsamoro people, the non-Bangsamoro indigenous community, the Christians, traditional leaders, women, youth," he told ANC on Tuesday.

Jaafar said some provisions of the previous BBL have been included in the new draft because they are considered necessary.

He also clarified that the Bangsamoro police force will be a separate entity from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"In order for the Bangsamoro government to effectively operate to protect themselves, it has to have security, of course, in consultation with our consultant or expert on the issue of security. We believe we did some very significant improvement. These consultants are retired generals in PNP and lawyers," he said.

Jaafar said the commission was supposed to submit a draft to President Rodrigo Duterte this week, but until now, they have yet to receive details on how it should be submitted.

Meanwhile, long time peace advocate Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr. hopes Congress takes the proposed draft seriously.

He said one of the challenges for the government is to reconcile the draft to be submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and the one by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

"The first challenge the government has to face is to reconcile the new draft of BBL ... with the MNLF track, because they are also submitting to the Presdident the amendatory law," Fr. Mercado told ANC, citing proposed amendments to the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

"Hopefully this time, with this reconciled proposed legislation, Congress will be able to act appropriately," he added.