BY LILIAN C. MELLEJOR
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will submit the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to President Rodrigo Duterte by the third week of this month.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) first vice chair and Chair of the 21-member BTC Ghazali Jaafar said they are into the finalization of the draft BBL.
The BBL, once it becomes a law, will chart the future of the Bangsamoro government in the Bangsamoro ancestral homeland.
”Halos patapos na ang pagsulat ng mga honorable commissioners Bangsamoro Transition Commission sa batas (The honorable commissioners are almost finish in writing the draft law). Maybe in few days time the BTC will finish its work,” Jaafar said during a press conference after the breaking of the fast on Saturday night, June 3, in Davao City.
Jaafar said the draft BBL enshrines the legitimate aspiration and interests of the Muslims, Christian settlers, Moro and non-Moro Indigenous Peoples of the Bangsamoro.
He said it has been the aspiration of the Moro people to establish a government that is “genuinely asymmetric in relationship with the central government, and consistent with their belief and historical experience.”
He said the BBL does not contravene to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
According to Jaafar, the interests of the Bangsamoro people are well reflected in several articles that clearly establish its powers over political and fiscal matters, including the control over the exploration, development and utilization of resources.
Jaafar said the Preamble and Articles 1 up to VIII essentially vest the Bangsamoro government with powers that make it more autonomous than the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) while Article XII and XIII make the Bangsamoro government less dependent on the central government in revenue generation and control over the use and disposition of the natural resources.
He said the draft BBL also reflects the interests of the Christian settler communities for the protection of their rights and welfare. These are reflected in the general principles and polices and in the article of basic rights.
It also guarantees their participation in governance as well as the no-Moro IPs with the reserved seats in the Bangsamoro Parliament.
They are also guaranteed of their human rights and vested property rights.
As for women, youth, traditional leaders and other sectors, which are not identified, Jaafar said they will have the right for participation in governance even in the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) and the Bangsamoro government. Traditional leaders will be represented in the Council of Leaders, which will be created once the BTA is formed.
These are indicated in the articles of intergovernmental relations, Jaafar said.
Jaafar also emphasized on several other articles in the BBL the respect for fundamental and sacred rights of Muslims, Christians or IPs.
He said the BBL is truly democratic because it will undergo a process of ratification wherein all affected residents of the core territories and contiguous areas shall be asked to freely join the new political entity. This is indicated in Article XV, the Preamble and Article 1 while Section 2 or Article V speaks of the democratic political system.
Without the BBL, Jaafar emphasized that there can be no implementation of the negotiated political settlement to the issue of the Bangsamoro.
Jaafar said the BTC is committed to submit the proposed BBL as mandated by President Duterte, who assured them that the BTC is not affected by the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.
The expanded BTC is created by an Executive Order tasked to draft the enabling law in establishing a Bangsamoro government in Mindanao. It is composed of eleven members from the MILF, including the chair of the BTC while 10 of its members are nominated by the government. Three of the government’s nominees are from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). (PNA)