PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday admitted that there are “difficulties” hampering the passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) but he remains confident that the measure will be passed during his term.
In an interview aired live over state-run PTV 4, the president disclosed that he recently met with Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to discuss these concerns.
“I did ask recently both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House and they both laid out, shall we say, some of the difficulties currently in passing the BBL but they both expressed confidence that the BBL will be passed,” said Aquino.
However, he did not identify these “difficulties.” Instead, he called on members of Congress to support other initiatives aimed at keeping the peace in Mindanao while the BBL is pending.
“On the Executive’s portion, we would want to continue the engagement of our dialogue partners, specifically the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and programs, through programs like Sajahatra. We want them to experience and the population in general in this region the benefits or the so-called peace dividends arising from this agreement,” Aquino said.
“So even absent the Bangsamoro Law, we are hoping that Congress will support the initiatives that will shower these people with the peace dividends and get them further engaged in the process,” he added.
Aquino said the government will continue to “lobby with members of Congress to pass the law during our watch and pass it at the earliest possible time.”
“So that the new mode of governance will have the maximum time to show the effectivity or the efficacy of this new mode of governance,” he pointed out.
Aquino lamented that “spoilers” are trying to exploit these difficulties to advance their goals and spark new conflicts.
“There will be the spoilers who will want to exploit the current difficulties to show that their avowed aims of gaining what they want through violent means is the only way to go about it,” he emphasized.
The president called on peace advocates to “redouble” their efforts to “thwart these groups who want us to branch again.”
“I don’t think there is any interest from the major players to re-engage in a bloody conflict.
Having said that, those of us who are advocating peace should really even redouble our efforts to thwart these groups who would want us to branch again into really a pointless conflict… I think I’ll leave that up to the Filipino people who will have an opportunity in next year’s elections to gauge the merit, or lack of it, of the people who will propose themselves to lead various offices,” Aquino said.