Draft Bangsamoro basic law to be completed in April

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MAGUINDANAO: The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) said it is working double-time to complete a draft Basic Law for the new juridical entity within three months.

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“The crafting of the Bang–samoro Basic Law (BBL) will be completed and it will be submitted to President Benigno Aquino 3rd hopefully this coming April, and we hope also that he would certify it as an urgent bill if it reached the Congress,” BTC chair Mohagher Iqbal, who also chairs of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace talks with the government, said.

Iqbal appealed to the public, most specially to those who are in the government to “unite and cooperate” in realizing what they are pursuing now, saying that “after 40 years in struggle, we are now looking up to our future, that would benefit the next generations of the Bangsamoro.”

“This is not for [the MILF], we are now in the twilight of our life, we want to dedicate our last part for our life to our people,” he said.

“Even if we did not get full independence, at least we will be having two important things, which are the powers and resources vested in our homeland,” Iqbal added.

Maguindanao officials led by Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu and their constituents welcomed the BTC’s visit to Buluan town and expressed their “full support” for the aspirations of the Bangsamoro entity.

In his speech, Mangudadatu said “even during the campaigning of FAB, Maguindanao has been very supportive, and we have shown it and let our constituents feel it.”

The governor highlighted eight-point agenda of the province, including its ongoing projects and programs on education, health services, infrastructure, agriculture, trade and industry, peace-building and good governance that were anchored to the FAB.

“Our province is also helping realizing the intents of the FAB including settling of feuds that would help normalize the province,” he said, referring to the work of the Maguindanao Task Force on Reconciliation and Unification (MTFRU).

It was learned that the MTFRU has now settled 22 rido or clan feuds, including that between the families of Sheikh Kaliffa Nando and SPO3 Meng Kadalim in Datu Paglas that ended on Wednesday.

Maguindanao Rep. Sajid Ma–ngudadatu, after receiving clarifications from the delegation, vowed to campaign in the Lower House for the smooth passage of the BBL.

The BBL draft would incorporate the FAB and its four annexes on transition, wealth-sharing, power-sharing and normalization. The first three annexes have been signed while the fourth is being discussed for signing in two-month time or so, sources said.

The BTC delegation was also warmly received by majority Christian leaders in North Cotabato including Gov. Lala Taliño-Mendoza, Vice Gov. Gregorio Ipong and Rep. Jose Tejada.

In North Cotabato province, at least 39 villages comprising mostly Muslim residents have been eyed for inclusion in the areas of the proposed juridical entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). ARMM comprises Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.

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