PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte agreed to certify as urgent the bill seeking the creation of the Bangsamoro region during the third meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council in Malacañang Wednesday night.
“Among a number of items discussed, the presidential adviser on the peace process and the Finance secretary presented updates on the status of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, respectively,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
“In the course of the discussion, the President agreed to certify as urgent the proposed measures on the BBL,” Abella said.
Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza described it as a positive development.
The BBL seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity in Mindanao with greater economic and political powers.
The House of Representatives is poised to revive the BBL after the Bangsamoro Transition Commission has committed to submit to lawmakers its draft measure next week.
Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas made the announcement Thursday morning following the third Ledac meeting with President Duterte Wednesday night.
“We will file next week the bill for the BBL submitted by the BTC,” Fariñas said. “The President informed us that he will leave to the wisdom of the Congress the final version of the BBL,” he added.
Former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the only member of the 17th Congress to file the BBL measure, through House Bill 6121 or the “Basic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”
The bill was in response to President Duterte’s call for “just and lasting peace for a unified nation,” Arroyo said in filing the bill.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier assured the stakeholders concerned that the House will do its “part to help find peace in Mindanao.”
“Now more than ever, it is imperative that Filipino Muslims and Christians united amid a new threat coming from Islamist militants, espousing an extremist and violent ideology radically different from Islam’s tenets of peace and bortherhood,” Alvarez said.
Former Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, who urged Alvarez to take the initiative to speed the BBL’s passage, said the version that was submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission should be the one that gets passed.
“Any other proposed bill… is a violation of the agreements of the parties, and more seriously, will only prolong the sufferings and agonies of the people,” Iqbal said.
Iqbal said lawmakers “should look at the Bangsamoro problem as “a political and not a purely legal issue.”