COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) yesterday appealed to both the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass the original draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law as Congress resumes its 3rd regular session.
MohaqherIqbal, BTC chair, said the current version being pushed in the House will run against the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front MILF) peace agreement.
“We listed at least 28 provisions of the original BBL that were deleted or changed in HB 5811,” Iqbal said.
By that, he said, the draft law becomes less autonomous than Republic Act 9054 that created the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
BTC was tasked to draft the BBL and it has 15 members, seven representing the government and eight from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“We also requested the Senate to pass Senate Bill 2408 in its original form,” he added.
According to Iqbal, passing the diluted BBL will run counter to the provisions of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
The BTC passed the Resolution No. 005, Series of 2015 – has an attachment of “partial list of substantial issues on House Bill No. 5811,” was signed by 14 members. One member has resigned last year.
Iqbal explained the BTC resolution by saying “when nose is removed in a person’s face, it will be incomplete, when an ear is removed, the face will be incomplete.”
He said the original draft (SB 2408 and HB 4994) has undergone meticulous review and revisions by the BTC, Office of the President legal committee before these were forwarded to the legislature.
In the House, the Rep. Rufus Rodriguez-led Adhoc Committee revised HB 4994 and came up with HB 5811. Floor deliberation of HB 588 has started but was overtaken by Congress recess on June 11 this year.
The Senate version (SB-2408) was rejected by Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Sen. Ferdinand BongBong Marcos Jr in a privilege speech, saying SB 2408 “cannot be passed in “its present form and substance” because “it will lead us to perdition.”
Iqbal said HB 5811 is “50 percent good, 50 percent bad.”
“I hope the Philippine Congress will listen to BTC,” he said.
He also assured the public that the MILF maintained its stance to push with the peace process even if draft BBL fails to hurdle the 16th Congress.
“No matter what happen to BBL, the MILF will continue to search for peace in Mindanao,” Iqbal said.
MILF chief Al Haj Murad was quoted as saying that the MILF is losing hope the draft law will be passed and would wait for the next President to work for the passage of the bill. (PNA)