President Rodrigo Duterte will examine the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law before endorsing it to Congress. File photo

 
Duterte to review BBL draft
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - June 21, 2017 - 7:47am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to review the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the legislation that seeks to implement the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Duterte said he and the MILF leaders would meet on Monday to hold “frank” discussions on the provisions of the BBL.

“The BBL has been completed. And the MI (MILF) will give it to me, I will sign it during the Eid’l Fitr,” the president told reporters in Cagayan de Oro City last Wednesday.

He was referring to the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to be celebrated on Monday.

“We made a promise to the (MILF) that it would be on time. And we’ll meet in Malacañan on Eid’l Fitr,” Duterte said.

“It would be better to be frank. It’s time to be candid and to be brutally frank. What is this? (Will this) document (be) the floodgate of peace in the land of Mindanao?” he added.

Duterte will examine the draft BBL before endorsing it to Congress.

“If I find things in order, I will sign it. And wait for the document, the formal one and I’ll send it to Congress,” he said.

The president does not see the need to certify the measure as urgent because Congress still has time to deliberate on it.

“But I am waiting for the document because I have to review it. And I have to point out to them that there are provisions that have to wait for an amendment in the Constitution and those who are doable now,” he said.

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), a panel with representatives from the government, the MILF and local stakeholders, has completed the draft BBL earlier this month.  The measure aims to form a new Bangsamoro political entity with enhanced political and economic powers

The BBL was bypassed by the 16th Congress because of questions on its constitutionality. Its passage was also impede by the backlash over the Mamasapano clash, which claimed the lives of 44 police commandos in 2015.

Irene Santiago, chair of the government implementing panel for Bangsamoro accords, has said the new BBL was based on the original draft law but has practical provisions on the transition between the passage of the measure and its ratification.

“We are hoping and planning that the president will mention it in the SONA (state of the nation address) and say that, 'This is priority bill for me,'” she said in a press briefing last June 8. 

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