Sen. Bongbong gives role to MNLF in establishing Bangsamoro Autonomous Region

SENATOR Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. has given a key role to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Under Senate Bill (SB) 2894, a substitute bill to the Malacañang- proposed SB 2408 commonly known as BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), the MNLF will be part of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which shall be the interim government or governing body in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region during the transition period.

The MNLF had been totally left out in the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF).

Section 196 of Article 15 (Transition Period) of SB 2894 provides that a representative of MNLF will be appointed by the President as a member of the BTA.

“The MNLF was not given any participation under the original BBL version, that’s why I included them in the BTA in my substitute bill. In fact, in the public hearings which I had conducted, I had invited them and all the other stakeholders because I consider them as partners in this endeavor of finally bringing peace to Mindanao,” he said.

The BTA will be composed of 60 members, which include all the incumbent members of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Legislative Assembly, and those who will be appointed by the President from the women sectors, settler communities, non-Moro inhabitants, other essential stakeholders, and MNLF.

The MILF, being the principal party to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, shall enjoy preference in the appointment to the BTA, both in its leadership and membership.

Last Monday, Marcos, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, filed SB 2894, shortly titled “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” under Committee Report 200, which he described as all-inclusive because it contained applicable advocacies, positions, and proposals from all the stakeholders that he had called during the period of public hearings.

If enacted into law, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will be established, replacing the present ARMM, which will be abolished.

Other stakeholders called by Marcos to the public hearings were the Sultanate of Sulu, Indigenous People, religious groups, youth groups, legal luminaries, labor and peasant groups, local government units, and other concerned organizations.

Marcos had conducted a total of 12 public hearings and one briefing, which started on September 23, 2014, plus two separate hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The last hearing was on June 9.

One hearing each was conducted in Cotabato City, Marawi City, Tawi-Tawi, Jolo, and Zamboanga City.

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