The final version of a proposed law seeking to create a new autonomous Bangasa Moro government in Mindanao has been submitted to President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte confirmed that the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL] was transmitted to the President on Wednesday night.
Valte, however, declined to give details, saying Malacanang is still waiting for the official statement of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles on the matter.
In a separate text message to Palace reporters, Deles just said the peace process is “on track’” and that further details on the proposed Bangamoro law will be issued today.
“As further agreed upon, the latest draft has been submitted to the President for his review. Further discussions may be held based on the guidance of the President,” she added.
Deles said Aquino will review the draft and further discussions may be held between the government and MILF negotiating panels before submitting it to Congress.
She noted that the passage of the BBL “remains on top of the President’s legislative agenda” and that the leaderships of the Senate and the House of Representatives have indicated that they are prepared to work overtime to ensure the timely passage of the law.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law seeks to create a new political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
It will embody the comprehensive peace agreement signed last March by the MILF and the government, which aims to end the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao.
According to a report on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) website, the draft Bangsamoro bill was submitted to Aquino’s office on Wednesday night.
The MILF said Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. received the document signed by Mohagher Iqbal as chairman of the joint government and MILF commission that crafted the law.
“We are respectfully submitting the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) . . . and we are ready to adhere to our understanding to work on the final text of the proposed BBL after its review by the President,” the MILF quoted Iqbal as saying.
The government and the MILF agreed to meet again after Aquino has reviewed the documents to craft the final draft of the Bangsamoro law that will be certified as urgent by the President once it is submitted to Congress by the end of August.
Once the draft BBL is passed into law, a plebiscite will be held in the areas that will constitute the Bangsamoro territory.
The government aims to put in place a Bangsamoro Transition Authority next year ahead of the 2016 elections.
The MILF and government peace panels had agreed on several resolutions that will form part of the draft Bangsamoro law.
Under the wealth-sharing annex, the Bangsamoro will also enjoy 100 percent of resources from non-metallic minerals such as sand, gravel and quarry and 75 percent of income from the exploration, development and utilization of metallic minerals within the region.
Only income derived from fossil fuels and uranium shall be shared equally by the Bangsamoro with the central government.
Under the annex on power-sharing, the Bangsamoro assembly shall have at least 50 members representing district, party-list, sectoral and reserved seats.
The assembly shall be headed by a Chief Minister, who shall be elected by majority votes from among the members of the assembly.
The national government shall have reserved powers on defense and external security, foreign policy, coinage and monetary policy, postal service, citizenship and naturalization, immigration, customs and tariff, common market and global trade and intellectual property rights.
The government and the Bangsamoro shall have 14 jointly-shared powers, including social security and pensions, land registration, pollution control, penology, coast guard, civil service and maintenance of national roads and bridges.
The Bangsamoro, on the other hand, shall have 58 exclusive powers, including tourism, creation of sources of revenue, power generation, ancestral domain and natural resources and management of all fishery, marine and aquatic resources within the Bangsamoro territorial jurisdiction.
The Bangsamoro government will also have authority and jurisdiction over the exploration, development and utilization of mines and minerals within its territory.