President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday reiterated his promise that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be passed under his administration.
Duterte gave the assurance after the leaders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expressed concern that the BBL was not among the administration’s priority measures after the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) did not include it in its common legislative agenda.
“ I said that I hope the BBL would pass Congress. I said that I will husband it.
And I’m trying to convince everybody that it is for our own – to our national interest that we start changing the unitary type into a federal type,” Duterte said in a news conference.
“And that’s being asked by the Visayas and Mindanao for the longest time, an equal sharing of the wealth of the nation, the taxes and all. That why some people in the Philippines are rebellious,” he added.
On Monday, Duterte met with the leaders of the MILF in Malacañang. Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte assured the MILF that the BBL will remain a priority of his administration.“PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) met with the leadership of MILF yesterday to discuss among others, their concerns about social media posts critical of their handling and the progress of the BBL bill,” Abella told reporters on Tuesday.
“The President assures them that he considers this [as]high priority and vital to the future of Mindanao and the nation,” he added.
The meeting came a few days after the MILF issued a statement lamenting the government’s “noncompliance” with the signed peace agreements with the rebel group as no lawmaker has sponsored the draft Moro law.
“Even the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is the legal interpretation of the FAB (Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro) and CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro), has no sponsor in Congress up to this time,” the MILF said.
“Worse, it is not listed as one of the 14 priority legislations of Congress during the recent Legislative-Development Authority Council meeting last August 29,” it added.
On Monday, Malacañang said the draft BBL will be tackled in the next meeting of the LEDAC set on September 20. Abella said Duterte was considering holding a meeting with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to pave way for the swift passage of the proposed BBL.
Present during the meeting were MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MILF vice chair and Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) chairman Ghazali Jaafar, MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, BTC commissioner Abdularaof Macacua, and BTC executive director Esmael Pasigan.