Aquino asks Congress to pass Bangsamoro law before he steps down
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 27, asked lawmakers to pass the law creating the Bangsamoro regional entity before his term ends.
"There are several measures I wish will be passed within the current Congress. Foremost of these measures is the Bangsamoro Basic Law," Aquino said in his speech, a statement that was immediately greeted by applause.
The House of Representatives has passed its version of the proposed law that will create a region that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The Senate has yet to draw a timeline pending the submission of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr of a substitute bill. Marcos chairs the committee on local government.
Aquino challenged critics of the BBL to provide alternatives.
"To those who are opposing the law, I think it is your obligation to suggest alternatives. If you cannot present alternatives, you are only guaranteeing that everything will stay as they are. How many more lives need to be sacrificed before we change the problematic status quo in Muslim Mindanao?" he added.
Stakeholders appeared in a video to call for support for the BBL.
Dominant Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) agreed to drop its bid for the independence of Muslim Mindanao and lay down their arms in exchange for wider economic and political powers for the new Bangsamoro region.
In an interview over the weekend, MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim counted on Aquino to make the push in his SONA. – Rappler.com