Friday, March 21, 2014

Palace hopes Bangsamoro Basic Law is enacted by yearend

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 21): Palace hopes Bangsamoro Basic Law is enacted by yearend

With barely a week before the final signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), Malacanang on Friday expressed hope that the basic law will be enacted before the year ends.

The signing of the CAB on March 27 fastens the partnership for long-lasting peace between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It also combines all the major agreements signed by the parties in the course of the 17-year negotiations and its most important parts are the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the four Annexes.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a Palace media briefing that over 1,000 guests are expected to witness the historic event, which will be held in Malacanang.

“We are expecting members of the diplomatic corps, members of the International Contact Group (ICG), the International Monitoring Team (IMT), and also particular individuals who helped in the process over the years,” Lacierda said.

“We’re also inviting congressional leaders -- the House of Representatives and the Senate -- to witness the historic signing and also some countries which have participated through their ICG and the IMT,” he added.

Currently, Lacierda said that the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law is still being crafted under the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

“We are hoping that they would be able to finalize everything by March or by April, but we need the draft to be submitted to us early so that the process will be moving faster,” Lacierda said.

He noted that the BTC will next forward the draft to the Office of the President (OP) for further review.

“Once it is okayed by the OP, we will submit it to the Congress...The President will certify it as urgent...hopefully by the end of this year, we will have the Bangsamoro Basic Law enacted," Lacierda added.

When asked if he expects the law to have “smooth sailing” in the Congress, Lacierda said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Deles has “already made the rounds with the House and the Senate and briefing them on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.”

“We certainly would hope that the House and the Senate realize how important and how vital this particular peace agreement is to the development in Mindanao...,” Lacierda stressed.

“If there would be some issues raised, I think the Executive branch will be there to help our fellow legislators clarify some of their concerns,” he said.

Lacierda also said that the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was also sent an invitation to the event but its leaders have yet to confirm.

Meanwhile, he noted that aside from the law ensuring peace in Mindanao, it is also very vital to the economic development of the area.

“It (Mindanao) has been for the longest time been neglected...” Lacierda said

“I would imagine that the Mindanao congressmen will call all the support of the other regional legislators because the improvement and development in Mindanao will redound to the benefit of the entire Philippines,” he added.

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