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Palace vows to fight BBL ‘misinformation’


Malacañang has vowed to fight misinformation on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL) to ensure its passage by March this year.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the statement as the House Ad Hoc panel on the Bangsamoro wrapped up discussions after 35 hearings on the BBL.

“One of our enemies in terms of pushing for the BBL is misinformation and/or disinformation. The OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process], as well the negotiating panel and other stakeholders, would want the correct information to be disseminated as far as possible,” Valte said in a radio interview.

The panel’s executive session on the BBL next week will not be open to the media. The panel hopes to come up with a committee report to be tackled in the plenary by February.

The proposed BBL, which will establish a Bangsamoro region to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, gives extensive and exclusive powers to the Bangsamoro government and limits the central government’s power to defense and external security; foreign policy; coinage and monetary policy; postal service; citizenship and naturalization; immigration; customs and tariff; common market and global trade and intellectual property rights.

The proposed BBL also includes provisions on transitional modalities, power sharing, wealth sharing and putting MILF combatants beyond use.

After President Aquino signs the BBL into law, a plebiscite will be conducted on covered areas. The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will then prepare the region for the elections whose winners will form the Bangsamoro government—a referendum that the Aquino administration wants to be conducted on the same year of the 2016 Presidential elections.

“We support such efforts and we have also talked with Congress members to explain and push for the timelime, and we hope that there will no substantial deviation from the timelime,” Valte said.

In one of the previous Bangsamoro hearings, Muslim groups took offense on an observation that there is no guarantee that they would abandon their armed struggle because of discord among their ranks.

Rep. Rodolfo Biazon of Mandaluyong City suggested that the Muslim groups should unify their stand in a national convention, but MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal gave assurances that a good number of Muslim groups, support the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law.

“Yes, the best way is to arrive at a consensus in national convention.

That is the best option. But that is not possible anymore at this point.

What we can do is to reach out, and we have been doing that. We have signed a communiqué with MILF factions in December, and another with the one led by Alonto last in January. This communiqué, signed by MILF Chairman Ebrahim Murad stated their [other groups’] unconditional support for the Bangsamoro,” Iqbal said.

“And if ever there are issues to be raised, we iron it out within our ranks under the Bangsamoro Convention that we organized,” he added.

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