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Duterte vows passage of BBL in meeting with MILF, other Moro leaders

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte chats with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim on the sidelines of the signing ceremony for the Executive Order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Malacañan on November 7, 2016. — PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/KING RODRIGUEZ

By Arjay L. Balinbin

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte said he would use his “residual powers” to fulfill his promise to the Moro people should Congress fail to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza said.

The President, according to Mr. Dureza, made these remarks during his meeting with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Davao City on Tuesday night, March 27.

Besides Mr. Dureza, other officials who joined the President were Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) Secretary Adelino B. Sitoy and Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” T. Go.

The meeting took place a day after Mr. Duterte invited the Moro leaders for a dialogue on issues pertaining to the proposed BBL.

In his speech in Patikul, Sulu on Monday, Mr. Duterte said he was hoping to sit down with Moro leaders to “find solutions” to the armed conflict in Mindanao.




“This is part of the previously agreed arrangement that there will be periodic and regular meeting(s) of both sides as efforts for the eventual passage of the BBL are underway in both the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Mr. Dureza said in a statement on Wednesday, March 28.

He added: “President Duterte reiterated to them his continuing and consistent desire and commitment to install the enhanced government structure and governance that will hopefully solve the root causes of the Moro rebellion and address the historical injustice suffered by the Bangsamoro over generations.”

Mr. Duterte likewise said he would “assist even to the extent of relaying to both chambers of Congress his determination to help push for the passage of the BBL that is compliant with the comprehensive agreement of the Bangsamoro and as close as possible to the new draft law submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).”

In the event the BBL fails to hurdle Congress, Mr. Dureza said the President stressed that he “would go to the extent of even exercising his residual powers through administrative directives to fulfill” the said commitment.

Mr. Dureza also reported that former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in a phone conversation, “committed to support the BTC-drafted version that House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez authored.”

Ms. Arroyo said “she would withdraw authorship of her previously signed bill to fast-track the approval of the new version,” Mr. Dureza added.

He further disclosed that Senate sub-committee chair Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, then in London, also committed to have the Senate “act on the bill before Congress adjourns sine die on May 15 this year.”

Mr. Dureza in his statement also quoted MILF Chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim as saying: “If this does not get done during the presidency of President Duterte, we seriously doubt if we can do it at all, in the future. President Duterte is now our only and last card.”









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