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Friday, July 26, 2013

Solons, local execs back Bangsamoro Basic Law


Manila – Lawmakers and local officials expressed their support to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which will pave the way for the establishment of the new Bangsamoro political entity replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 2016.
 
”Definitely, amending the charter of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to conform with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) is one of the key measures for the 16th Congress,” said Senate President Franklin Drilon.
 
The Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will be drafted by the Transition Commission, will be certified as urgent by the President, submitted to Congress for passage, and subjected to a plebiscite in areas covered by FAB. Once ratified, the law will replace Republic Act 9054 or the Organic Act that created and expanded the ARMM. The ARMM will then be abolished and the envisioned Bangsamoro will be established.
 
“We will support fully the peace process,” Drilon added. “One of the priorities is that we will have to tackle this once the peace agreement is completed. We must buckle down to work in order that we can amend the organic act to conform with the agreement.”
 
Rep. Isidro T. Ungab, chair of the House Committee on Appropriation, said that the Bangsamoro Basic Law “will certainly be the most valuable piece of legislation that the 16th Congress will pass and thus be the legislative measure that will define its mark in the history of our country.”
 
“Being a legislator from Mindanao, I can only be true to my duty if I fully support the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Ungab added. “I consider my support to the Bangsamoro Basic Law not only as support to the cause of peace in Mindanao but also as a duty that I must perform as a servant of the Filipino people.”
 
President Benigno Aquino III, in his speech during the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, called on the public to support the establishment of the Bangsamoro and, at the same time, appealed to lawmakers to pass the Basic Law before 2014 ends.
 
In a joint statement, incumbent Tawi-Tawi Governor Nurbert Sahali and former Gov. Sadikul Sahali thanked the President for making the call. They believed that the passage of the law “could lead the country to peace, progress and development.”
 
“In line with this, we would like to assure you that the provincial government and our municipal mayors here are in full support to the peace process between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” they said. “We also believe that President Aquino is on the right track and would be able to craft a peace deal with the MILF before his term expires in 2016.”
 
ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, on the other hand, lauded Aquino for his resolve to forge a peace agreement with the MILF and end the decades-old conflict in the south as expressed in his SONA report. “Talagang nasa tuwid na daan na tayo ngayon kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang Mindanao peace process (We are now definitely on the straight path in terms of the Mindanao peace process),” he said.
 
Tawi-Tawi Rep. Hadja Ruby Sahali likewise commended the President, saying that his “commitment was very explicit and very profound.”
 
Even Manila Mayor and former Pres. Joseph Estrada, who launched an all-out war against the MILF in 2000, conveyed hopes for the Mindanao peace process to steadily move forward. “I hope and pray that it will succeed because this has been pending for over 40 years. It was always a case of having peace talks, then ceasefire, then peace talks, then ceasefire,” Estrada stated.
 
CSO support
 
Civil society groups have also voiced their support to the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
 
Jasmin Nario-Galace, executive director of Miriam College Center for Peace Education and co-convener of Women Engaged in Action on 1325, was among those who attended the President’s SONA.
 
“I was heartened to hear President Aquino’s pitch for the Bangsamoro. That he suggested a timeframe for the adoption of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) was laudable,” she said adding that Aquino’s recognition of the GPH and MILF panel members in his speech “indicates the commitment of this administration to nonviolent resolution of armed conflicts.”
 
“I attended the SONA carrying my abaniko (fan) cum campaign material where the words ‘Support the Bangsamoro Basic Law’ were inscribed. I thought that the SONA was a great opportunity to start lobbying for the adoption of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Hence, I was delighted to realize that we had the President, no less, as ally in the campaign for the adoption of the BBL!" Galace stated. #

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