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Bangsamoro Transition Commission to submit draft BBL to Duterte

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The Bangsamoro Transition Commission completed on Friday, 16 June 2017, its draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, and is now ready to submit it to President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo courtesy of BTC Facebook

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will submit its draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang on July 18, a month and two days after completing it and six days before the President delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) where he is expected to certify the bill as urgent.

In a report in Mindanews, BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar said he does not know if the President will still review the draft as he had repeatedly said he would, or hand it over immediately to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on the same day it is submitted to him in Malacanang.

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TRANSITION COMMISSION COMPLETES NEW DRAFT OF BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW

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mellejorBY LILIAN C. MELLEJOR

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will submit the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to President Rodrigo Duterte by the third week of this month.

BANGSAMORO TCMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) first vice chair and Chair of the 21-member BTC Ghazali Jaafar said they are into the finalization of the draft BBL.

The BBL, once it becomes a law, will chart the future of the Bangsamoro government in the Bangsamoro ancestral homeland.
”Halos patapos na ang pagsulat ng mga honorable commissioners Bangsamoro Transition Commission sa batas (The honorable commissioners are almost finish in writing the draft law). Maybe in few days time the BTC will finish its work,” Jaafar said during a press conference after the breaking of the fast on Saturday night, June 3, in Davao City.
Jaafar said the draft BBL enshrines the legitimate aspiration and interests of the Muslims, Christian settlers, Moro and non-Moro Indigenous Peoples of the Bangsamoro.
He said it has been the aspiration of the Moro people to establish a government that is “genuinely asymmetric in relationship with the central government, and consistent with their belief and historical experience.”
He said the BBL does not contravene to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
According to Jaafar, the interests of the Bangsamoro people are well reflected in several articles that clearly establish its powers over political and fiscal matters, including the control over the exploration, development and utilization of resources.
Jaafar said the Preamble and Articles 1 up to VIII essentially vest the Bangsamoro government with powers that make it more autonomous than the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) while Article XII and XIII make the Bangsamoro government less dependent on the central government in revenue generation and control over the use and disposition of the natural resources.
He said the draft BBL also reflects the interests of the Christian settler communities for the protection of their rights and welfare. These are reflected in the general principles and polices and in the article of basic rights.
It also guarantees their participation in governance as well as the no-Moro IPs with the reserved seats in the Bangsamoro Parliament.
They are also guaranteed of their human rights and vested property rights.
As for women, youth, traditional leaders and other sectors, which are not identified, Jaafar said they will have the right for participation in governance even in the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) and the Bangsamoro government. Traditional leaders will be represented in the Council of Leaders, which will be created once the BTA is formed.
These are indicated in the articles of intergovernmental relations, Jaafar said.
Jaafar also emphasized on several other articles in the BBL the respect for fundamental and sacred rights of Muslims, Christians or IPs.
He said the BBL is truly democratic because it will undergo a process of ratification wherein all affected residents of the core territories and contiguous areas shall be asked to freely join the new political entity. This is indicated in Article XV, the Preamble and Article 1 while Section 2 or Article V speaks of the democratic political system.
Without the BBL, Jaafar emphasized that there can be no implementation of the negotiated political settlement to the issue of the Bangsamoro.
Jaafar said the BTC is committed to submit the proposed BBL as mandated by President Duterte, who assured them that the BTC is not affected by the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.
The expanded BTC is created by an Executive Order tasked to draft the enabling law in establishing a Bangsamoro government in Mindanao. It is composed of eleven members from the MILF, including the chair of the BTC while 10 of its members are nominated by the government. Three of the government’s nominees are from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). (PNA)

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MISUARI VOWS TO HELP DUTERTE FIND LASTING PEACE IN MINDANAO

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“You can count on us, Mr. President”

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari pledged support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s search for lasting peace in volatile Mindanao, during a historic meeting with the President in Malacanang on Thursday, November 3.

The President recognizes Misuari’s key role in bringing peace in Mindanao, for decades wracked by fighting between government troopers and Moro rebels that has killed thousands and displaced countless numbers of civilians.

Misuari, who launched a secessionist campaign for a Moro homeland in Mindanao in the late 60s, is the poster boy of the Bangsamoro struggle.

“It is with great happiness that I announce to the nation that Chairman Nur Misuari, our brother, has finally decided to accept my invitation for him to talk to us,” the President said in his welcome speech.

President Duterte invited fugitive Misuari for the Palace meeting with assurance of  safe passage.  

Misuari and several MNLF commanders are facing non-bailable charges of rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851, the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, before the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) in connection with the 2013 Zamboanga City siege.

The warrant for Misuari’s arrest has been suspended by the court on request of the President to allow the MNLF leader to meet with him to talk peace in Malacanang.

Upon the MNLF founder’s arrival at the Palace, President Duterte and Misuari met behind closed doors before facing the media.

mnlfThe MNLF, founded by Misuari in 1969, is the second biggest Moro group that has been fighting the government for autonomy for the Bangsamoro people, the now minority original settlers of the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao.

The government inked a peace pact two years ago with the other Moro group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group that broke away from the MNLF.

The Philippine Congress is now deliberating on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), that would create a new juridical entity covering Muslim-dominated parts of Mindanao. The Moro problem is seen as the biggest stumbling block to the development of the agriculture- and mineral-rich island where Moro militants have been fighting the Manila government for than five decades.

“I believe, as I said during the (election) campaign, there is one single man who can provide solutions to the problem of peace and order in our homeland of Mindanao,” said President Duterte in his speech at the simple welcome ceremony for Misuari.

The President won the May 2016 election with a landslide with a vow to end bureaucratic corruption and crime, and finding solutions to the Moro and communist insurgency problem, which hobbled the country’s march to progress and development.

Misuari and the MNLF, which already inked a peace pact with the government during the Cory Aquino presidency, do not acknowledge the government’s peace negotiation with the MILF. Davao City and then Mayor Duterte played key role in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF by hosting several Tripartite Conferences and Ministerial Meetings that led to the signing of the historic pact.

Misuari was the first Governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), that was created as an offshoot of the Final Peace Agreement.

Misuari’s meeting with the President is fresh air that could invigorate efforts to find lasting peace in Mindanao.

 “Allow me to reiterate my sense of gratitude to the President and my promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President,” Misuari said in his speech  after he was warmly welcomed by President Duterte, his old friend.

dureza-misuariMisuari  emerged from his hide-out in Jolo, Sulu for the historic Malacanang meeting with the President after a court suspended for six months execution of an arrest warrant against him. He was fetched by  Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza who had a copy of the decision of a Pasig City court to suspend the arrest warrant against Misuari in connection with the 2013 siege.

In his speech, an elated Misuari thanked President Duterte for his temporary liberty, and described the President as the “man who I respect and trust.”

Help me create a “country that is really just and that is good and that would be for the next generations to come, ” the President asked Misuari.

“I assure you, we will come up with the modality and then of course, how to place us in our proper homeland, our Mindanao, and that we will talk about the Bangsamoro Authority,” the President told Misuari.
The President reiterated to Misuari his election campaign commitment to bring peace and development to Mindanao, his advocacy for a shift to a federal form of government, and his promise to step down from the presidency after a federal government is established.

Duterte admitted that injustice has been done against the Bangsamoro people, but hoped to remedy this by working together with Misuari and the Bangsamoro.