COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: A prominent Muslim leader slammed on Thursday efforts of some sectors to discredit a proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which could end the war in Mindanao and serve as “roadmap to peace” for the region.
Macabangkit Lanto, a former Justice Undersecretary, said inaccurate reports in the media about certain provisions of the proposed law could misled the public about its real purpose and importance.
“I appeal to them to be fair, to stick to the facts and to avoid speculations and innuendos,” Lanto said.
Congress was set to pass the measure early this year, but it hit a snagged when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the terrorist group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters killed 44 policemen in a clash in Maguindanao in January.
The Aquino Administration has endorsed the measure as a priority measure. Implementation of the law would require the MILF to lay down their arms and join the government.
Lanto corrected claims that the new law will create an independent Commission on Elections, Commission on Human Rights, Civil Service Commission, Ombudsman and police force in the propose Bangsamoro government.
He said the heads of the Bangsamoro commissions will be appointed by the President and will operate as regional offices exercising powers and authority derived from national agencies.
The devolution of the powers of the national commissions did not dilute its powers as mandated by the Constitution but strengthened it to facilitate implementation in the regional level, Lanto said.
Lanto said the Bangsamoro police will not operate as an independent force but “shall be part of the Philippine National Police and the Bangsamoro Police Board will be part of the National Police Commission.”
He said some people were alarmed by the word Bang-samoro but it was a matter of semantics and it could be amended but the substance of the proposed measure must be retained as agreed upon by the negotiating parties that drafted the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Lanto echoed the appeal of the people in Mindanao on legislators to separate the debates on the Mamasapano incident from the discussions on the proposed law because it might becloud the noble purpose of the BBL.