With the Bangsamoro pact signed, next step is to draft and pass the basic law –President Aquino

March 28, 2014 9:38 am 

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, March 27 (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the next step is to have the basic law drafted and passed into law by both Houses of Congress.

During the signing ceremony held at Kalayaan grounds in Malacanang, the President said that the next move is for the Bangsamoro Transition Commission to draft a Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“Our mission now is to draft and pass this law so that it will be presented to the people for ratification in a plebiscite,” the President stressed.

He said that the goal is to have the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in place by 2015, when it will serve as the interim Bangsamoro government until the elections in 2016.

He explained that the law must be equitable, practical, and empowering, and could serve the interests of the entire nation. The draft must also have to pass his personal muster as a President before it is submitted to Congress.

“I expect the deliberations in Congress to be characterized by a sincere desire to improve on the Bangsamoro Basic Law — and not by self-interest that only aims to perpetuate an untenable status quo,” the President said.

President Aquino noted that if both sides sustain the momentum for peace, by 2016, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will have shed its identity as a military force and transformed itself into a political entity.

“The Bangsamoro shall form a perimeter of vigilance against the spread of extremism; it shall act as a bridge of moderation among the great faiths of the various constituencies in ASEAN.

“From this shared security, we shall enhance the era of prosperity that is dawning upon our region, and harness its energies towards creating a regime of opportunity and inclusivity where no one is left behind,” he added.

He also said that as the Bangsamoro matures, it will serve as the gateway to trade, investment, and cultural exchanges within the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“We thus call on everyone to widen the avenues for trust and positive engagement; let us cast aside past prejudices, and contribute to the atmosphere of optimism that has, for the first time in a long while, become prevalent in Muslim Mindanao,” the President said. (PNA)

SCS/ANP

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