The formal submission of the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has again been postponed due to the unavailability of congressional leaders.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) explained on its official website that Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez III will not be available on June 28.
Instead, the submission of the draft law—the result of years of talks between the government and the MILF—was “tentatively” set for July 10.
The MILF noted that Pimentel and Alvarez are the “two most important personalities as far as legislation, and for this matter, the passage of BBL in Congress, are concerned.”
BTC chairman, MILF vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar, told the Inquirer last week he hoped President Duterte will endorse the draft BBL as a priority measure in his State of the Nation Address on July 24.
The MILF said the proposed bill was supposed to be submitted on June 1 but the BTC was still debating the measure.
At a meeting between President Duterte and the MILF leadership on May 29, Jaafar suggested June 14 and 15 as dates of submission but there was no concurrence on the dates by the Office of the President (OP), the MILF said.
The dates June 16, 22, and 24 were also mentioned but the OP suggested June 28, only to postpone it to July 10, the MILF said.
The MILF said “such a litany of postponements do not bode well” for the ordinary Moro even if government has the final say on the schedule.
“The ghost of the previous BBL still lingers well in their minds. If there was Mamasapano then, now we have Marawi City. What an unhappy consequence!” the MILF said.
In an official statement for Eid al-Fitr, MILF chieftain Murad Ebrahim urged the Bangsamoro to be “more patient” as the implementation of the peace process can be “painstakingly slow.”
“On this blessed occasion of Eidul Fitre or Feast of Breaking the Fast, I once again reiterate that the MILF has never, and will never, abandon the legitimate aspirations of the Bangsamoro people,” Murad said.