BBL Re-filed in Congress by Maguindanao Lawmaker


Maguindanao, Philippines,19 Syawwal 1437/24 July 2016 (MINA) – The lawmaker-spouse of the chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has re-filed in Congress the original version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is to principally benefit the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Maguindanao First District Rep. Sandra Sema on Saturday said she has reintroduced to the House of Representatives the proposed law, which solons denied of congressional imprimatur during the time of President Benigno Aquino III.

The BBL is the enabling measure for the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a more politically-empowered MILF-led Bangsamoro government.

The creation of the Bangsamoro government is part of a final compact between the government and the MILF, the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

Sema re-filed the archived BBL June 30 yet, but told The Star about it only on Saturday, July 23.

“In a way, my move to have the BBL studied again by the House will show that there is inclusivity now in the effort of the Bangsamoro people to build lasting peace in the homeland,” Sema said.

Sema’s spouse, Datu Muslimin, former mayor of Cotabato City, is chairman of the largest and most politically-active faction in the MNLF, which forged a peace deal with Malacañang on Sept. 2, 1996, while yet a solidly monolithic group led by Nur Misuari.

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A third MNLF group, led by Abulkhayr Alonto, which emerged more than a year ago, has also been overtly expressing support to the peace overture between the government and the MILF.

The MNLF-Sema group is not hostile to the MILF, an absolute contrast with the faction led by Misuari, who has rabidly been opposing Malacañang’s dealings with the MILF, led by Hadji Murad Ebrahim.

Misuari has also been ranting on what is for him “abrogation” of the 1996 government-MNLF truce with the crafting of the CAB by peace negotiators of the MILF and Malacañang.

The MILF started only as a small breakaway faction in the MNLF, from where it splintered from and stood through as a separate revolutionary movement in the early 1980s under its founder, the Egyptian-trained cleric Salamat Hashim, who died in 2003.

Sema said the BBL was re-filed in its original format, containing the same contentious provisions which most members of the House opposed for being “unconstitutional.”

The BBL Sema is trying to revive, recorded as House Bill 92, entitled “An act providing for the basic law for the Bangsamoro and abolishing the ARMM,” was reintroduced last June 30, 2016, the first day of filing of proposed laws by legislators.

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“We can study again and discuss the BBL provisions that are construed to be unconstitutional,” said Sema, who was elected to a third and last term during the May 9 synchronized local, ARMM and national elections.


Duterte is okay, except for unconstitutional provisions

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Buluan town in Maguindanao on Friday, said he will not oppose the BBL as long as all of its unconstitutional provisions are taken out.

He cited as example a BBL provision providing for the creation of regional armed forces, which many legislators assailed antagonistically in past congressional deliberations.

“We will not need a regional Army anymore if we already have peace,” Duterte said in a message to local officials while in Buluan on Friday afternoon.

Duterte was in Buluan, Maguindanao’s provincial capital, to launch a 4.5-megawatt biomass power plant jointly established by the family of Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and a private Chinese firm, the Green Earth Enersource Corp.

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The facility will operate using only bio-degradable wastes from oil palm trees as fuel to propel power-generating turbines.

Duterte, while in Buluan, again talked about his desire to change to federalism the present Philippine government set up.

He explained lengthily the benefits of federalism such as autonomy, political and fiscal empowerment of the country’s different regions.

Duterte said he will focus utmost attention on the peaceful resolution of the Mindanao secessionist conflict.

He told MILF officials who joined him in his sortie in Buluan that he recognizes the “historical injustice” done to Mindanao’s Moro people by outsiders and settlers who came to integrate with their self-governing communities many decades ago.

“We are one on that. I agree with you that you were here first. Let us address this historical injustice,” Duterte said.

Sema said she was so inspired by Duterte’s pronouncements while he was in Buluan. The congresswoman was one of the public officials who welcomed Duterte there.

Duterte’s visit to the municipality, his first as president, was hosted by members of the Mangudadatu clan, among them the provincial governor’s politician-sibling, Datu Khadafeh, an ARMM assemblyman. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)