MANILA– The Senate leadership remains committed to support the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity in Mindanao as promised by President Benigno S. Aquino III in his fourth State-of-the-Nation Address or SONA in 2013.
”The schedule for us is that we must have the (Bangsarmoro) government in place when the (Aquino) administration comes out in 2016,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said.
Drilon said 2016 is the timetable though Malacanang has yet to submit the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to the House of Representatives and the Senate.
”There should be new structure for Bangsamoro towards the end of the term of President Noynoy Aquino,” Drilon said.
In his SONA in 2013, President Aquino asked Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law before the end of 2014 to give the government ample time to prepare for the election of a new Bangsamoro government in 2016.
Drilon vowed to give highest priority on the BBL “once we receive the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
”Whenever it is submitted, we will work hard so that we can meet the target ratification by the second half of next year,” Drilon said.
The Senate leader stressed the need to pass the BBL that would hopefully bring the long overdue progress in Mindanao.
”We cannot afford to fail as far as the Bangsamoro Basic Law is concerned. We must have something in place so that the BBL will provide stability and improvement in the economic life of the region,” Drilon said.
Drilon also urged both the government peace panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to come up with an agreement.
”We are all Filipinos. We need to unite for the sake of everybody and of our future,” Drilon said.
The Transition Commission has prepared the draft of the BBL to be submitted to Malacanang for review before it will be given to Congress for legislative approval.
Last March, the government peace panel and the MILF finally signed a comprehensive peace agreement after a series of peace negotiations here and abroad.
Both parties are hoping the agreement would lead to end the decades-long armed struggle in Mindanao as they agreed on wealth-sharing and power-sharing in areas to be covered by the Bangsamoro political entity.