Duterte dangles executive order if Congress fails to pass BBL–Dureza

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte may issue an executive order should Congress fail to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), his peace adviser said on Wednesday.

“President Duterte said he would push for the passage of the Bangsamoro Bill and will even go to the extent of resorting to an executive issuance to hasten it if Congress itself fails to approve it,” Jesus Dureza said in a statement.

“Stressing that he can use the inherent powers of the presidency, he is ready to carve out through an executive order the area for the Bangsamoro for their self-rule,” he added.

This developed after Duterte met with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders led by Kagi Ibrahim Murad on Monday in Davao City where he gave assurance that BBL would be enacted first before he would pursue the proposed federal type of government.

Dureza said Duterte was committed to fulfilling his campaign promise to push for a new Bangsamoro entity under his leadership.

“The President met with the MILF leaders headed by Kagi Ibrahim Murad late afternoon Monday in Davao City as he reassured them that he would push for an early passage of the law for the Bangsamoro ahead of the shift to federalism,” Dureza aid.

“The President said that he gave this commitment even during his presidential campaign and would continue to push for it. He stressed that the approval of the BBL should come ahead of federalism,” he added.

At least three other BBL versions have been crafted since the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) submitted its version.

On Tuesday, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri assured that the Bangsamoro bill remains a priority measure in the Senate.

Zubiri, who also filed a BTC-approved version in the Senate on Tuesday, expressed hope that it would be passed on second and third reading by mid-March.

Dureza said the government welcomed Zubiri’s move to ensure the passage of the proposed BBL, which will abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and create a new entity for the Bangsamoro region for expanded powers.

“We also welcome the action taken by Sen. Miguel Zubiri that the BTC’s bill that the President certified would be adopted as the working draft in next week’s resumption of the Senate hearings,” he said.

Dureza said the government also welcomed Zubiri’s announcement that the Senate committee that he chairs would hold its initial round of BBL public hearings and consultations in various areas, especially in ARMM.

“We call on  Filipinos to all help and contribute to the realization of this long-awaited  aspiration of the bangsamoro,” Dureza said.

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