Palace: Lawmakers vow to pass BBL in less than two months

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 14 2018 03:33 PM

MANILA - Leaders of the legislature have promised to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by May 30, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, even as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expressed concern over the fate of the proposed measure in light of moves to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Roque said leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate made this promise during their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in MalacaƱang on Tuesday.

“We cannot fail on this (BBL). The next generation is counting on us,” Roque quoted Duterte as saying.

The President has repeatedly stressed that failure to address the concerns of Bangsamoro people might lead to more trouble in Mindanao.

Duterte’s 20-man consultative committee tasked to make recommendations on amendments to the charter has started its work, discussing among others how a new charter could accommodate the BBL.

The BBL is the enabling measure of the peace compact signed by the Philippine government and the MILF in 2014.

The MILF, the leading Moro group pushing for the BBL’s passage, said during its meeting with the consultative committee that it would be “easier” to pass the proposed measure than to overhaul the system of government toward federalism.

Security experts and Moro leaders have warned that Islamist extremists, who recently waged a 5-month siege on Marawi City, might exploit a disgruntled Moro community in case the government fails to fulfill its promises to the region.

The passage of the original version of the BBL during the previous administration was scuttled because of the Mamasapano clash, where 44 elite cops were killed by MILF fighters and other private armed groups. It also faced questions on its constitutionality.