Duterte racing against time to pass proposed BBL
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he was racing against time to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
In a speech in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat where he led the distribution of certificate of land ownership acquisition, Duterte said he promised to the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front that he would meet its target to pass the bill, now pending before both Houses of Congress.
"I am racing against time. The MILF is in a hurry and has placed on us the burden of a timeline. And I have agreed to that period," he said.
Duterte met last week MILF leaders led by its chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.
MILF peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal has told the Daily Manila Shimbun that Duterte committed that the proposed BBL would be passed by May.
"I gave my solemn promise and I assure you I am working hard to meet the deadline," Duterte said.
He said this was the reason his week, he would meet with the concerned individuals, such as Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari.
"That's why this week, I will be in conference with everybody and after that, I will go back to maybe Jolo to talk to Misuari again if we can come up with an arrangement to arrive at a lasting peace," said.
"I do not think that with the MN, MI in government or in joint venture with government can go wrong. We will see to it that justice is applied everyday. That fairness is observed," he added.
Duterte reiterated that there will be only one Armed Forces of the Philippines and one Philippine National Police in the country.
"I told MI, MN and (I'm telling) to all of you now, there will be no regional armed forces or police. I will not agree to that. Because if we are one Filipino, why will you form an army. My army is also your army. My police is also your police," he stressed.
He said if the MILF combatants want to join the AFP, they could be absorbed.
When the MNLF forged a final peace agreement with the government in 1996, its fighters were reintegrated to the military.
But despite the peace deal, Misuari again raised arms against the government by invading Zamboanga City in 2013 for allegedly failing to fully fulfill the agreement. Celerina Monte/DMS