By Genalyn Kabiling
President Rodrigo Duterte is considering the issuance of an executive order creating the Bangsamoro autonomous region if Congress is unable to swiftly pass a law.
The President expressed readiness to exercise such executive option as he voiced concern that war might erupt in Mindanao if the proposed Bangsamoro territory is not put in place soon.
“I continue to talk with the MI (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), MN (Moro National Liberation Front) because I do not want a war in Mindanao,” the President said during a media interview in Pasay City last Tuesday.
“Puputok ang Mindanao [Mindanao will explode]. I’m telling you now for the information of the public, if nothing happens there…if we cannot make a certain concession either territory or powers over their resources,” he said.
The President has renewed his support for the Bangsamoro measure during a meeting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders in Davao City last Monday.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said the President promised to push for the passage of the BBL and “will even go to the extent of resorting to an executive issuance to hasten it or if Congress itself fails to approve it.”
“Stressing that he can use the inherent powers of the presidency, he is ready to carve out through an executive order the area for the Bangsamoro for their self-rule,” he said.
Dureza also assured that the delineation of the country’s territory could be covered by the administrative powers of the President. He noted that Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was created by Executive Order No. 220 issued by then President Corazon Aquino in July 1987.
The President earlier committed to support and “husband” the congressional approval of the BBL, which he described as the legal instrument to lay the foundation of lasting peace in Mindanao. He said it was a significant step to end the centuries of hatred, mistrust and injustice that cost and affected the lives of Filipinos.
The bill aims to create the Bangsamoro entity with greater political and fiscal autonomy, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).