PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte promised to issue an executive order to ensure the passage of an “inclusive” Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza has said.
Dureza made the statement after Duterte’s meeting with leaders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at Matina Enclaves in Davao late Tuesday.
“The President said he would assist even to the extent of relaying to both chambers of Congress his determination to help push for the passage of the BBL that is compliant with the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro and as close as possible to the new draft law submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC),” Dureza said in a statement.
The Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro is the final peace deal between the government and the MILF, signed in 2014. But the government’s promise of wider autonomy to Muslim Mindanao needs congressional approval, through the passage of the BBL.
“In the event this (BBL) does not take place in Congress, he said he would go to the extent of even exercising his residual powers through administrative directives to fulfill this commitment,” Dureza added.
According to Dureza, Duterte stressed in the meeting his “continuing and consistent desire and commitment” to install an enhanced government structure and governance in Muslim Mindanao.
This is because Duterte firmly believes that the passage of the BBL will “hopefully solve the root causes of the Moro rebellion and address the historical injustice suffered by the Bangsamoro over generations,” Dureza said.
Duterte also stressed the “inclusive” character of the BBL, where all tribes and sectors, including the non-Muslims, will benefit.
Dureza said that during the meeting, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo committed to support the BTC-drafted version, which House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez principally authored.
Arroyo also withdrew her authorship of her original bill to expedite the approval of the new version, according to Dureza.
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, chairman of the Senate sub-committee for BBL, also said the Senate would act on the bill when Congress resumes sessions.
According to Dureza, the Tuesday meeting was upon the request of the MILF leaders.
It was also part of an arrangement wherein there would be periodic and regular meetings of both sides amid efforts for the eventual passage of the BBL in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Dureza also said the “timely” meeting also dispelled speculations, following the recent visit of Duterte in Jolo, Sulu where he told the Tausugs that he would meet with Moro leaders to discuss the reported opposition of some Bangsamoro leaders in Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-tawi to the BTC-crafted BBL.
Duterte and Dureza were joined by Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Adelino Sitoy and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.
They met with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar, and MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
Duterte earlier said that he wanted the BBL passed by the end of the year.