Duterte Asks for MILF’s Patience on BBL Passage

President Duterte speaks to media during a press conference.

Manila, Philippines, MINA — President Rodrigo Duterte appealed for patience from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as Congress deliberates on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Duterte noted that the BBL, which aims to implement the 2014 peace agreement between the government and the MILF, has to undergo a process before it is realized.

“I hope that the BBL guys, MILF would understand that in a democracy there is always a process, and sometimes it gets very hard to just move,” Philstar quoted the president as saying in a press conference in Davao City last Saturday.

“Especially, with the sentiments involved, this will not entail an automatic vote for no or yes, but I am asking for their patience,” he added.

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Duterte stressed that the passage of BBL, which aims to form a Bangsamoro political entity in Mindanao with enhanced autonomy, remains a “personal commitment.”

The most that I can really assure you is it would be a federal system where we do not lose control.

“We are waiting for the BBL. Actually, it’s a commitment. That’s the centerpiece of my campaign, actually was Mindanao. Because if you are not going to fix it, I said, there is trouble,” he added.

The executive branch transmitted the BBL draft to the House of Representatives and the Senate last August.

Duterte said failure to pass the BBL and adopt federalism could lead to a “fractured” Mindanao.

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“I have been very frank with you. Ever since during the campaign, I thought there’s a looming of dark clouds also that would involve the Moro of Mindanao,” he said.

From unitary to federal

Last month, Duterte warned that Mindanao would be plagued with more rebellion if the type of government is not changed from unitary to federal.

“With regard to federalism, I’ll be frank. If it does not push through or any change that would modify the present structure, which is really an unfair set-up, it will lead into a trouble again in Mindanao,” the President said in a federalism forum in Camarines Sur last Oct 17.

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“It would be harder for us to survive as a nation, a republic intact. I am not scaring you,” he added. (T/RS5/RS!)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)