MANILA - There is no reason for the government to wait for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before pushing for constitutional reforms since both can be done simultaneously, an analyst said Wednesday.
Local Government Development Foundation Executive Director and Political Science Prof. Edmund Tayao said it would be best for President Duterte to convene the presidential committee on constitutional amendments right away without waiting for the passage of the BBL since implementing the law would require charter change as well.
Last December, Duterte signed an executive order creating a team composed of 25 appointed individuals who will study proposals to amend the now-30-year-old Philippine Constitution.
“To be honest, when you change the constitution and whether you approve of the [Bangsamoro] agreement or re-implement the agreement or not, it will require a change in the constitution so I don’t see any reason why one should go first before the other,” he said on ANC’s “Early Edition.”
“In fact, it should be together. When the new Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed and when the agreements in the Comprehensive Agreement in the Bangsamoro are incorporated or really implemented, then it will just the same require a change in the constitution. So why not do it at the same time?” he added.
Changing the form of government from unitary to federalism was one of Duterte’s key campaign promises. Since assuming office, he has repeatedly mentioned that only a federal government can bring lasting peace in Mindanao, where various armed Moro groups and Islamist rebels are operating.
Tayao is confident that Duterte, the country’s first Mindanaoan president, can reconcile the differences between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“I’m 100 percent confident that the President can do that. The President knows pretty much every stakeholder in Mindanao. It’s more of a question of timing again and the different interests around the President,” he said.
On Tuesday, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chair Ghazali Jaafar described the new draft of the BBL as "truly democratic," saying it 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.