By Francis Wakefield
Various civil society groups appealed to the Bicameral Conference Committee to strengthen the provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in adherence to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.
In an interfaith rally held Wednesday outside Crowne Plaza Hotel where members of the Senate and the House of Representatives were reconciling their respective versions of the law, the groups called for a BBL that is compliant with the peace agreements and one that will ensure peace and development in the region.
“Ang aming organization ay buong pusong sumusuporta sa kagandahan ng BBL at kabutihang madudulot nito sa Mindanao at buong bansa (Our organization wholeheartedly supports the BBL and the benefits it will give to Mindanao and the entire country),” Datu Al-Amer of 1taBangsa Peace and Peoples Organization said.
According to Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Lawyer Algamar Latiph, a stronger BBL will be beneficial not only to the region but the nation itself.
“Ito po ang magbibigay ng political at economic structure kung saan ang intensyon niya ay iaddress ang development at kapayapaan (This will give the political and economic structure needed to address issues of development and peace),” he said.
Latiph added that the enhanced power of the BBL will address the historical and structural injustices suffered by the people in the region.
“Kailangan natin itong power na sapat ngunit inaallow naman ng Constitution (We need these powers that are enough and are allowed by the Constitution),” he said.
The Bicameral Committee is now on its third day of deliberation of the proposed measure, which is expected to be ratified and signed into a law on July 23 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte before he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA).