Philippine leader to expedite bill for self-rule in Muslim region

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

Iqbal rejected rumors that the Bangsamoro people would secede from the Philippines if "given the authority or the opportunity to rule" themselves, but rather this will be the "antidote" to end the years ofinjustice against the Moro people.

Aquino made this remark as the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is expected to submit to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte a draft of the revised BBL on Monday.

"May I say to you, my brothers. I will support and hasten this instrument as it goes to the legislature", Duterte said in a ceremony for the handover of the bill, drawing loud applause.

Irene Santiago, who oversees the Bangsamoro peace accords, said that a successful communications strategy will help overturn the negative public opinion against the BBL, which rose highest following the deaths of 44 members of a special police unit in an encounter with Moro groups, including MILF combatants, in Maguindanao province.

"Congress can not pass a law only for the MILF and another separate law for the MNLF".

Rebels inspired by Daesh have occupied the commercial heart of Marawi City, on Mindanao, through seven weeks of air strikes and battles with government troops.

"These misguided people have filled the vacuum created by our failure to enact the basic law and (they) feed into the frustration of our people".

The law, details of which were not immediately available, calls for the creation of a self-administered territory within what the Philippines called Bangsamoro, meaning "Moro nation", referring to the southern Muslims that Spanish colonialists called "Moros".

The bill, agreed by a panel of representatives from government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and religious groups, prescribes an elected legislative assembly, a chief minister, a cabinet, with an agreement to share natural resource revenues, stacked largely in favour of the new Bangsamoro government.

Meantime, any proposed amendment from the camp of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari to the ARMM law will be presented separately to Congress. "After the age of armed struggle and violence, we will soon come up with the constitutionally consistent, legal document that will lay the foundation to establishing the real and lasting peace in Mindanao", he added.

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