Tuesday, December 8, 2015

President Aquino renews call for BBL bill approval

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 8): President Aquino renews call for BBL bill approval

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday met with lawmakers headed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to reiterate the importance of the immediate passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The Chief Executive met with the lawmakers around lunchtime to urge the latter to "...seize the historic opportunity..." of enacting the measure and ensure long-term peace in Mindanao, said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.

Among those who were present during the meeting are House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II and Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

The PCOO chief said President Aquino stressed the need for the immediate passage of the measure given higher threats from global terrorism and radicalization.

"The President urged the members of Congress to rise to the challenge of being able to “change the narrative”, referring to the cycle of violence and poverty that has stalled peace and progress in Mindanao," he said.

Coloma said the President cited the projected gains of the measure and one of these include giving the people the opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

"He cited the gains achieved by the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) in attracting new investments amounting to PhP9.8 billion in the period from 2011 to 2014," he said.

The PCOO chief said the President, during his recent trip to Vatican and Italy, was asked by European leaders about the BBL "and he pointed out that the BBL provides a template for peace building that may be considered by the international community."

The proposed BBL was submitted to Congress in September 2014 after representatives of the government’s peace panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in March of the same year.

It received flak after the "misencounter" between members of the police’s elite force and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members on January 25, 2015, which led to the death of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF).
However, the Aquino administration maintains that passage of the BBL is necessary to ensure a long-term peace and growth in Mindanao.


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