MANILA (Mabuhay) – Congress leaders on Thursday committed to pass the basic law embodying the peace deal between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front within the year.
At a press briefing with members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Senate President Franklin Drilon said he sat down with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and other Congress leaders to set the timetable of legislative action on the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“All of us agreed that the enactment of the Basic Law should be made by the end of this year. That is our target. We want to see 2015 as the year for the ratification by areas covered. This is our commitment,” Drilon said.
Congress’ timetable is consistent with the target set by the government peace panel to have the Bangsamoro Basic Law ratified in mid-2015.
Members of the transition commission drafting the Bangsamoro basic law visited the Senate on Thursday morning to seek the chamber’s support for the legislation, which will create the legal framework for the creation of a new political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Peace process adviser Teresita Deles described the meeting between Senate leaders and the Bangsamoro Transition Council as a “historic moment” that marks the shift of the peace process to legislative “arena.”
“This coming together is a very important moment. It shows us that… the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement is moving. It is now here, in the arena of Congress,” Deles said during the press briefing.
Under the framework agreement, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission will draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will be submitted to Congress for further deliberations and approval.
Late last month, the government and MILF panels signed the last annex [on normalization] to the framework peace agreement, which deals with decommissioning of the armed wing of the MILF and outlines steps to disarm private armies in the proposed Bangsamoro area.
The signing of the normalization annex marked the completion of the framework agreement. (MNS)