Duterte ‘last card’ to pass BBL: MILF chair

MANILA Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim believes that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has its huge chance of passage under the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza on Wednesday said Murad made this remark during Duterte's meeting with leaders of the MILF, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and the government peace panel in Davao City on Tuesday.

If this does not get done during the presidency of President Duterte, we seriously doubt if we can do it at all, in the future. President Duterte is now our only and last card, Dureza quoted Murad.

Dureza also pointed out that Murad said the MILF never doubted the sincerity of President Duterte in his commitments.

In the same meeting, Dureza said that Duterte reiterated his commitment to pass BBL to solve the root causes of the Moro rebellion and to address the historical injustice suffered by the Bangsamoro.

Dureza pointed out that Duterte said he would push both chambers of Congress to pass the BBL and would even go to the extent of exercising executive action if Congress fails to pass the measure.

The President said he would assist even to the extent of relaying to both chambers of Congress his determination to help push for the passage of the BBL that is compliant with the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro and as close as possible to the new draft law submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Dureza said.

In the event this does not take place in Congress, he said he would go to the extent of even exercising his residual powers thru administrative directives to fulfill this commitment, he added.

Dureza added that Duterte assured the inclusive character of the new BBL where all tribes and sectors, including non-Muslims, will benefit when it is finally entrenched.

He said that former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had also committed to support the BTC-drafted version authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The peace adviser, meanwhile, said that Senate Sub-Committee on the BBL Chairman Senator Miguel Zubiri assured that the Senate, for its part, would act on the bill before Congress adjourns sine die on May 15 this year.

Present during Tuesday's meeting include Dureza, Murad, BTC Chair Ghadzali Jaafar and MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal.

Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Adelino Sitoy and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Bong Go also joined the President.

Dureza said this meeting is part of the previously agreed arrangement that there will be periodic and regular meeting of both sides, as efforts for the eventual passage of the BBL are underway in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The BBL seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity with more autonomy.

Source: Philippine News Agency