Bangsa Law silent on laying down of arms

Mohagher Iqbal (left), chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), hands over the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to Senate President Franklin Drilon (second right) as President Benigno Aquino 3rd (second from left) and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte look on. AFP PHOTO

Mohagher Iqbal (left), chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), hands over the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to Senate President Franklin Drilon (second right) as President Benigno Aquino 3rd (second from left) and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte look on. AFP PHOTO

The final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) submitted by President Benigno Aquino 3rd to Congress on Wednesday has no provision on the laying down of firearms by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

This was confirmed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, who said the crafting of the BBL did not imply decommissioning of firearms for MILF fighters.

She said that an independent body will oversee the decommissioning.

The “normalization process doesn’t have to be in the law. Except for the part on the setting up of police, it’s an executive action that doesn’t need new legislation,” Deles told The Manila Times in a text message.

“Normalization bodies are already set up and joint planning ongoing,” she added.
In a separate statement, Miriam Colonel-Ferrer, head of the government peace panel, said the draft BBL focused only on the establishment of a new Bangsamoro political entity.

“Ang proposed law ay patungkol sa pagtatayo ng Bangsamoro. Ang decommissioning ay isasagawa ng government (The proposed law is about the establishment of Bangsamoro. The decommissioning will be implemented by the government); this doesn’t need a law to implement,” Ferrer said.

Under the annex on normalization contained in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the MILF agreed to “decommission” a specific number of their firearms and troops in certain periods as the government, in exchange, also gave its commitment to reduce armed forces and help disband private armed groups in Mindanao. The normalization annex, which was signed on Jan. 25, 2014, aims to pave the way for the laying down of weapons of MILF members and their transition to civilian life.

The MILF, however, had said they will not “surrender” their firearms to the government.

The proposed BBL law which Aquino personally endorsed to Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. after months of delay allows the Bangsamoro government to have its own police force but it shall be part of the Philippine National Police. The national government retains powers on defense and external security, foreign and monetary policies, immigration and naturalization and postal service.

The Bangsamoro government, which shall be parliamentarian, shall be headed by a Chief Minister. The Bangsamoro parliament shall be composed of 60 members who will enact laws on the rights of the Bangsamoro people.

The Bangsamoro government shall have exclusive powers on agriculture, economic
and cultural exchange, trade and industry, labor and employment, barter trade with Asean countries, tourism, creation of sources of revenue, financial and banking system and creation of government owned and controlled corporations.
It shall also regulate power regulation, transmission and distribution.

On power sharing, the Bangsamoro government will have exclusive power to explore, develop and utilize natural resources but it will jointly explore with the central government fossil fuels and uranium.

Just, fair
Aquino justified the delay in the submission of the BBL draft, saying the “long and thorough process” was to ensure “every detail involved in fulfilling our shared desires for the Bangsamoro region.”

“I assure you, the Bangsamoro Basic Law was crafted to be fair, just and acceptable to all, whether they are Moros, Lumads or Christians,” he said.

Moros refer to the Filipino Muslim minority in Mindanao and Lumads, to the region’s indigenous Filipinos.

The President called for the immediate passage of the measure.

“We understand the need to thoroughly review the bill. We ask Congress, however, to pass this bill in the soonest possible time. If we are able to legislate this, we can give our Moro brothers enough time to prepare, thus enabling them to nurture the seeds of meaningful governance [that]were planted for the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Aquino and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad met last week to clarify and resolve issues in the draft BBL.

Ferrer said a parliamentary system will allow “a broader base of political representation and participation in governance.”

“It would compel the formation of competitive and sustainable political parties in the region,” she explained.

Ferrer said the Bangsamoro government will enjoy significant powers over and above the powers granted to the ARMM today. It will also have fiscal autonomy but it will still receive additional funding from the national government to hasten socio-economic development in the region.

The United Nations and the World Bank lauded the transmission of the BBL draft to Congress.

“We celebrate this remarkable achievement and are proud to have accompanied both sides on this journey. The United Nations System in the Philippines welcomes the finalization of a consensus draft. This is a critical milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and a crucial achievement in ensuring lasting peace and sustainable development in Mindanao and in the wider Philippines. The United Nations System stands ready to support further implementation of CAB,” it said in a statement.

The World Bank Group, meanwhile, commended the government and the MILF in completing the preparation of the draft law.

“This is a crucial step in the road map to achieving peace and development in Mindanao,” it said.

The Canadian government also welcomed the submission of the BBL draft to Congress.

“This [draft Bangsamoro Basic Law]and the pending substantive debate on the bill are important steps in the process aimed at achieving lasting peace and long-term prosperity in Mindanao,” Canadian Ambassador to Manila Neil Reeder said in a statement.

He commended the “diligent efforts” of the BTC and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, which “continue to bring new hope for an era of opportunity for the people of Mindanao, the people of the Philippines and partners in the surrounding region.”

Reeder said Canada remains committed to supporting establishment and implementation of the Bangsamoro region.

Once the BBL is signed into law by Aquino, a plebiscite will be conducted in the Bangsamoro territory to ratify the new government that will replace the ARMM by 2016.

“The only appeal I make to our brothers and sisters who will vote in this plebiscite.
Study well the provisions of the law. Your understanding and your participation will be the best defense against those who seek to sow doubt in our agenda of a just and lasting peace,” the President said.

Drilon also on Wednesday said the measure will be passed by Congress by March next year because the House and the Senate must first tackle the budget bill.

“We are giving ourselves until the first quarter of next year. There’s enough time to have it set for plebiscite and have the transition commission in place before the 2016 elections,” he added.

“We should not let this historic opportunity pass. It may never come again,” Drilon said.


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  1. Dahil sa pag aapura ng pamahalaan na bago matapos ang
    termino ng pamahalaang abnormal na mabigyan ng isang
    masasabi nila na isang makabuluhang pamana sa
    bansa ang maiiwan ni Pnoy ay ipinagduldulan nila ang
    mabilisang pagaaproba para maisabatas ang Bangsa Law.
    Ang BANGSA Law ay isang kataksilan sa Bansa at sa
    Constitution ipinaiiral.Itoy hayagang pagyurak at pagsala-ula
    sa pagiging malayang bansa ng Pilipinas. Kung sino man
    ang may pakana at nag sulsol nito kay pnoy ay Taksil sa Bayan
    at walang malasakit sa mga bayani na naghain ng dugo at
    pawis para maging nagkaka-isang bansa ang mga Isla ng
    Pilipinas sa ilalim ng isang Bandila. Naging sunudsunuran
    sa kagustuhan ng mga bandido at ng malaysia para mahati
    ang Mindanao at magkaroon ng sariling pamahalaan ang mga
    lumaban sa pamahalaan. Kung magkayon bakit di narin natin
    hayaang makapagsarili ang new peoples army. Kung matuloy
    ito di na mapipigilan na darating ang panahon na aangkinin na din nila
    ang buong kaMindanawan at Palawan. At dahil ang Mindanao
    ay parte ng Pilipinas na nagkaka-isang bansa, bakit ipinagkakait
    ng mga abnormal sa pamahalaan na bumoto ang pangkalahatang
    mga botanteng mamayan para umaayon o tumutol dito.
    Kung ang Layunin ninyo ay sa kapakanan ng bansa, bakit hindi
    ninyo hiningi sa Malaysia na isa sa mga nagpanukala nito na
    bigyan naman din ng pagkakataon na mamahala sa SABAH
    ang Pilipinas o sultanado ng Jolo na siyang tunay na nagmamayari
    sa parte ng SABAH. Bakit kayo naging tamimi sa ganitong reciprocity
    sa kasunduan at naging napaka-tahimik, idagdag pa rito na hindi
    rin ninyo iginiit sa mga bandido ang pagbaba ng Armas at hayaan
    ang Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas ang siyang maging tangging Armado
    para mamahala sa Katahimikan.

  2. Ang mga traidor nang bayan ipapasa na hindi pa napagaaralan. At bakit hindi tayo kasami sa plebisito? Lutong makaw yan, Supreme Court should come on the picture, wala akong tiwala sa mga timawang tulad ni De les at Drilon mga traydor at mga mukhang pera at itong atin sinsabing pagulo sunudsunurin GONGONG!!! Ingat Bayan Pili[pino pinagbibili na tayo.

  3. jose hernani m. parco on

    if they won’t lay down their arms, there will never be peace in there, ever! and just like the “SPCPD” before it, it will die a natural death and forgotten!

  4. Even it’s not stated in its Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) the Philippine government wants them to lay down their arms and these people don’t want to lay down their , this is very very bad….The Philippine government is not the rebel group that ordered them to lay down their arms, its the legitimate government of the Philippines that ordered them to lay down their arms so if these people don’t lay down their arms they are still rebels…this is very very bad amendment of Philippine constitution…and who will pass this law should be the ones who study this law first before they vote it not the people because majority of people in mindanao are ignorants…

    • ang kontrata, nakadeklara lahat ng mga PINAKAIMPORTANTENG ARTIKULO NA DAPAT MASUNOD sa bawat negosasyon. hindi dapat na yung sinasabi nila na bill eh pag naaprubahan na. Mga tonto at bobo de layuka itong sina Ferrer at Deles na miyembro ng HAYOP 10. Si Noynoy naman, kasi wala ng ibang kakampi, ayun nagpapauto at sunod-sunuran na lang sa kanila. Hindi kasi siya abogado na me alam sa legalidad. Alam lang niya pag siya ang nagdesisyon o nagdeklara ng ganito at ganun eh legal na. WALANG UTAK!!!

  5. ON the laying-down-of-arms, another possibility is that when Deles/Gobyerno-Pilipinas asked Murad-Jaffar for inclusion of laying down arms, but MILF refused.

    My personal opinion — the proposed treaty is badly-out-of-whack when this “laying-down-of-arms” is missing. Very dangerous for Gobyerno-Pilipinas to think that the MILF will lay down their arms without the specic words in the proposed treaty. I can foresee in the future saying hah? Bakit? “…but China may attack” or whatever strawman-version of “…we need it to protect our independence”, baka niyo kami lusubin.

  6. This early, I can see this as a government within a government and the creation of a sub-state within a state. “The Bangsamoro government, which shall be parliamentarian, shall be headed by a Chief Minister. The Bangsamoro parliament shall be composed of 60 members who will enact laws on the rights of the Bangsamoro people.”

    Within this framework, what is the assurance that the Bangsamoro parliament will enact laws in conformity with the Phil. Constitution? More essential is – how does this new government relate to our Phil. Constitution. Further, since it will not disarm, what is to prevent the new government from overpowering the duly constituted police force of the country to carry on its own agenda. The way I see it, this new agreement is not a peace agreement. It is an open invitation to disunity and armed conflict. The Supreme Court should challenge and rule on the constitutionality of this Bangsamoro chop suey.

    • pag nagkataon madadagdagan ang atraso ng supreme court kay Aquino…baka tuluyan nang mabuwang ang panggulong Aquino.

  7. Horacio B. Freires on

    1- All arms MUST be surrendered. .

    2- no Nuclear missiles should be installed pointed to Metro Manila in any bangsamoro autonomnous territory. . Like what happened to Pakistan and India. . Now there is peace but in an athmosphere of FEAR. ., . .Joke: should be pointed only to Philippine territories illegally & immorally occupied by China

  8. I can understand that the MILF security forces are hesitant to give up their arms at this early stage. The place is the most dangerous place in the country, they have to defend themselves if attack. I am sure that GPH and the MILF already have a plan on how to address this issue in time.

  9. Hindi pa nababasa ni Drillon ang BBL ay sinabi na niya na ipapasa ito sa March, 2015. Bakit hindi na lang bukas, tutal “rubber stamp” ni Noynoy ang Congress.