Canadian Ambassador John T. Holmes believe that President Rodrigo Duterte has “very strong personal commitment to try to see the BBL adopted by Congress this year.”
Holmes said he is expecting Duterte to provide details on how he would address the Mindanao problems, particularly the Marawi conflict, with the adoption of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), in his second State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
“So I think that certainly it is going to be one of the priorities for the President,” he said in an interview.
Holmes expressed anew his sympathy for the victims of the Marawi clash, conveying his country’s readiness to assist the Philippines.
”Certainly, the threat from violent extremism is a phenomenon that affects all countries, including Canada, including the Philippines. So I’m sure that the President will address the issues in Mindanao and link to BBL but separate from BBL,” he added.
The 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) last July 13 turned over to the President the new BBL draft aimed at ending decades of conflict in Mindanao.
“I told government secretaries that if there is an appeal, an international appeal for assistance, Canada would I’m sure be there to help,” the ambassador added. “Again, (we) will consider any request to help very seriously.”
Meanwhile, on the economic side, Holmes said he looked forward for the President during his SONA to make comments on his reform agenda and infrastructure program.
“Canadian companies are ready to help build this beautiful country,” he said.
The Duterte administration aimed to ramp up infrastructure spending to PhP8.4 trillion over the next six years under its “Build, Build, Build” program. (Leslie D. Venzon/PNA)