Duterte vows support for ‘more independent, powerful’ Bangsamoro in PHL

Jul. 18, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal after receiving a draft of the new proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) during the turnover ceremony at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace on July 17, 2017. Also in the photo are (from left) Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday vowed to support the establishment of a more independent and powerful Bangsamoro homeland in the country.

“I am for this—within the context of the Republic of the Philippines, there shall be a Bangsamoro country,” Duterte said in a speech during the formal turnover of the new Bangsamoro Basic Law draft in Malacañang.

“May I say to you, my brother Moros, that I commit to support – in front of everybody – my covenant with you that I will support and husband this instrument as it goes in the legislator for its consideration,” he added.

Duterte received the new draft of the BBL, which when approved by Congress will be the enabling law of the negotiated political agreement signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The BBL will create the political entity , Bangsamoro, that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The revised BBL was handed to the President by Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Ghadzali Jaafar on Monday which is a week before the chief executive’s second State of the Nation Address, following the opening of the regular session of Congress.

Duterte admitted “there’ll be a lot of debates but we hope that everything will be — well — strengthened, especially those objectionable materials or the things that were in the previous laws.”

“Titingnan natin. But I assure you, I said I’m committed to the na — to what we call the Bangsamoro nation,” he told reporters after the ceremony.

Duterte has requested both the Senate President and the Speaker to “consider it immediately.”

He also said: “There will be no objections of the provisions of all that as consistent with the constitution and the aspiration of the Moro people. I am for this.”
The Congress currently has leaders from Mindanao. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is a representative of Davao del Norte province, while Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III hails from Cagayan de Oro City.

Both leaders come from the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino -Laban (PDP-Laban), which Duterte chairs.
“InshaAllah, we will achieve sustainable and inclusive peace and development in the Bangsamoro Mindanao for the entire country,” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, MILF chairperson Al Haj Murad Ebrahim expressed hope that the revised BBL would be sailing smoothly under the Duterte administration in order to correct the “historical injustices” committed against the Moros in Mindanao.

“You have been given the unique privilege of correcting the historical injustice through the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,”

Ebrahim said. “We trust you will shepherd the passage of this law and see through the establishment of the Bangsamoro government.”

Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman and MILF first vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar described the BBL as the “best antidote” for the growing extremism in the country.

“The anger of violent extremism feeds into the frustration of our people and take over the narrative of historical injustice so it can justify its virulent ideology,” Jaafar said.

“Because it exploits the narrative of historical injustice, it is important to address legitimate grievance,” he added. (davaotoday.com)

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