From the Website of OPPAP
BBL remains top priority of Aquino administrationMANILA – In his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Benigno S. Aquino III trumpeted the Bangsamoro peace process as one of the successes and legacies of his administration and renewed his call on Congress to pass into law the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“May mga batas na nais kong ilapit upang maipasa sa loob ng kasalukuyang Kongreso. Pangunahin dito: ang Bangsamoro Basic Law (There are legislative measures which I want to put forward to the current Congress. Foremost of these is the Bangsamoro Basic Law),” said Aquino.
The BBL, which was based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) — the peace settlement signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) — aims to establish a parliamentary political system that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
He challenged critics of the BBL to offer an alternative that could be passed into a law. Otherwise, the President added, the critics only mean to preserve the current status in Mindanao where armed conflict plagues its citizens’ lives and its economy.
“Ilang buhay pa ang kailangang ibuwis para magising ang lahat sa obligasyong baguhin ang sirang status quo sa Muslim Mindanao (How many lives have to be offered for everyone to see the obligation to change the broken status quo in Muslim Mindanao)?” asked Aquino during his speech.
Aquino has been pushing for the Bangsamoro peace process since he assumed office in 2010. It would be remembered that one of his first steps into forging the CAB was a meeting between him and MILF chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim in 2011.
The President also lauded OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles and GPH Peace Panel Chair Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and thanked them for their efforts in working toward a peaceful country.
For her part, Deles noted: “Mula sa simula ng administrasyong ito, talagang pursigido ang ating Pangulo sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan at seguridad para sa Mindanao at sa buong bansa. Kaya patuloy tayong nagpapasalamat sa suporta ng taumbayan sa adhikaing ito. At nagpapasalamat din ho tayo sa suporta ng liderato ng Kamara at Senado. (Since the start of this administration, the President has been resolute in his quest for peace and security for Mindanao and the entire country. That is why we continue to thank the Filipino public for their support in this endeavor. We also thank the leaderships of the House of Representatives and the Senate for their support.)
“Sana’y tuluyan na ngang maipasa ang BBL para tuluyan na nating makamit ang kapayapaan na matagal nang hinahangad ng ating mga kababayan sa Bangsamoro (I hope the BBL will be passed soon so that we can achieve the peace that our people in the Bangsamoro have been hoping for),” she added.
BBL to determine 2016
In a televised interview prior to the President’s SONA, government chief peace negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer discussed the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in connection to the legacy of President Benigno S. Aquino III, adding that the peace process could spell the difference between winning and losing for 2016 hopefuls.
“Mga tatlong milyon ‘yan (sa Bangsamoro) na inaasahan natin na voting population. May ganyang bilang tayo na mga tao na sumusuporta dito. At make or break yan kung sino man tatakbo sa Senado, sino man tatakbo sa Presidential election kung ganyang klase na pagsuporta na makukuha sa mga tao na sumusuporta dito sa pagtatayo ng Bangsamoro Basic Law (We have at least 3 million people (in the Bangsamoro) who are eligible to vote. We have that kind of support. That could make or break whoever is running for Senate, whoever is running for the Presidential election if that kind of support can be secured from the people who are supportive of the Bangsamoro Basic Law),” explained Ferrer.
Four years into Aquino’s presidency, the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the historic negotiated peace settlement that aims to respond to the legitimate historic socio-political grievances of the Bangsamoro people by establishing a parliamentary government that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The Bangsamoro political entity, furthermore, introduces significant structural and operational changes to the ARMM that will provide the regional government with more fiscal and political autonomy. “Malaking bagay iyan para sa pangmatagalang kapayapaan at kaunlaran dito sa bahagi ng Mindanao. Sana makita iyan ng lahat ng tatakbo sa Presidente. Ayaw naman siguro nila na pagdating ng 2016 ay mamana nila ang problema. Mas maganda kung mamana na nila yung solusyon (That is a big deal to achieve lasting peace and development in that part of Mindanao. I hope that is clear to all aspiring would-be presidents. I think they don’t want, come 2016, to inherit problems. It would be better if they would inherit solutions).”
Improvements from past agreements
Ferrer pointed out that the various provisions in the BBL reflected President Aquino’s instruction to the panel since the start of negotiations to “learn from the lessons of the past”. “[A]ng talagang gusto nating mangyari dito ay magkaroon ng tunay na empowerment yung mga tao through parliamentary system na magtutulak sa kanila na magtayo ng political parties nila na lalahok sa regional elections dito sa Bangsamoro (What we really want to happen here is for people to have genuine empowerment through the parliamentary system that will compel them to establish political parties that will compete during the regional elections in the Bangsamoro).
“Hindi yan magiging batayan ng patronage na nanggagaling, halimbawa, sa national government papunta sa regional government; kung hindi isang free and fair election na maaaring makalahok lahat: MILF ka, MNLF(Moro National Liberation Front) ka. Hindi dahil ikaw ang pinapaboran ng kung sino mang Presidente, ikaw na ang maluluklok diyan. (That will no longer be the source of patronage, for instance, from the national government to the regional government; but a free and fair election wherein everyone can participate: regardless if you are MILF or MNLF. And not because you are being favored by whoever is the President, you will be automatically elected),” added Ferrer.