MILF on House, Senate BBL: Watered down, but we can live with it
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said on Thursday the versions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law by the Senate and the House of Representatives were "watered down" compared to the draft that it submitted to the government.
However, Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace implementing panel, in a phone interview with Manila Shimbun, said: "we can live with it."
"Strictly speaking, it's watered down...but we can live with it," he said.
Iqbal said the Senate had introduced "much improvement" from the draft made by the 25-man Bangsamoro Transition Commission, while the House version, "85 percent" of the draft have been intact.
But he noted the remaining 15 percent, which the House altered were "very substantial" provisions also.
Both versions were "higher than" the existing Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, he said.
Iqbal said when they submitted their proposal, they were open to the possibility it would not be approved in its entirety.
He just hoped when the proposed BBL is passed into law, "no one will challenge (it's constitutionality anymore)."
Otherwise, he said all efforts of the government, the MILF, and other stakeholders would be wasted.
The passage of the proposed measure is a major component for the realization of the peace agreement that the MILF signed with the government during the Aquino administration.
Before Congress adjourned sine die on Wednesday, the House and the Senate approved their respective versions of the bill after President Rodrigo Duterte certified it as urgent.
Both Houses need to reconcile their respective versions of the bill before Duterte could sign it into law.
Congress will commence session on July 23, coinciding Duterte's State of the Nation Address. Celerina Monte/DMS