Duterte may omit review of Bangsamoro law, adviser says

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2017 02:19 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte may skip review of a proposed law creating a new Bangsamoro government in Mindanao and instead send it straight to Congress for deliberations, his peace adviser said Thursday.

The decision would remove another layer of scrutiny, as was the case under former President Beningno Aquino III whose lawyers spent months reviewing provisions of the first Bangsamoro Basic Law draft in 2014.

Secretary Jesus Dureza said the new draft was supposed to be submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission to the President on Wednesday. 

But Duterte opted to postpone it until Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez were available. 

"If you take it from there, parang ang gusto niyang gawin, pag natanggap nya, i-turn over na agad sa Kongreso," Dureza told ANC's Early Edition.

(If you take it from there, what he wants to do is, once he receives it, he will turn it over to Congress immediately.) 

The draft BBL is expected to be submitted to Congress in time for the president's state of the nation address next month.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Murad Ebrahim was hopeful the new draft would not run into as many controversies like before.

He said the process under the new administration was more "inclusive," particularly taking into account concerns by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Still, Congress will be faced with the challenge of "converging" the implementation of the two group's separate peace agreements with the government.

"Yung trabaho na yan, lagay natin sa Congress. Wag natin silang pangunahan. Kasi paminsan tayo masyado tayong bright e," Dureza said.

(That job should be left to Congress. Let's not preempt them. We can be too bright sometimes.) 

Implementing the MILF's 2014 peace accord would mean abolishing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and replace it with a new Bangsamoro territory.

But the MNLF faction, led by its founding chairman Nur Misuari, wants the full implementation of its 1996 final peace agreement. This would mean expanding and enhancing the existing ARMM.

Murad insisted his group, which broke away from the MNLF in the late 70s, was claiming no exclusive ownership of the proposed Bangsamoro territory despite its peace agreement.

"It is owned by the Bangsamoro people," he told ABS-CBN News.

Murad said the new territory would be an "enhancement of the ARMM" and the "self-determination of the Bangsamoro people."