DESPITE delays in the crafting of a final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Malacañang believes that a Bangsamoro government will be in place by the time President Benigno Aquino 3rd steps down in 2016.
In a news conference, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Wednesday said all parties are well within the timeline agreed upon and that the process is moving forward at the right pace.
“While, of course, we would like it to be passed by end of December, Sen. Franklin Drilon has been looking at the first quarter as also a possible deadline for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. In which case, it’s still possible to go through the timetable, the plebiscite, the formation of Bangsamoro Transitional Authority,” Lacierda added.
“Hopefully, we will have a [Bangsamoro government by the time the President steps down in 2016]. The formation of the regional government based on the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be in sync with the national elections in 2016,” he said.
Lacierda gave the assurance after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expressed concern over what it described as a “tightening timeline” of the law that would establish a Bangsamoro region.
“[The] MILF is also familiar that both parties are working steadfastly on making sure that the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be submitted to Congress. So this is not a decision that was unilaterally made by just the government panel. Both parties agreed on a certain date, hopefully, to submit to the Office of the President,” he said.
According to Lacierda, the Palace is set submit to Congress by the end of this month the proposed Bangsamoro bill.
“What we’d like to make sure is that, as soon as it is submitted to Congress, all these concerns will be minimized already. So that whatever concerns that they have, both from a local perspective on those regions affected, all will be covered and also, on a national scale, will be minimized or mitigated,” he said.
After a 10-day meeting in Davao City, the government and MILF peace panels committed to submit the BBL draft to Aquino by August 18.
In the Davao workshop, the panels discussed issues involving fiscal autonomy and the administration of justice in the proposed Bangsamoro political entity, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.