Duterte meets MILF leaders in Davao City

March 28, 2018 - 2:26 PM
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President Duterte, along with Palace, BTC and peace panel officials, meets MILF leaders in Davao City Tuesday, March 27, 2018. PNA PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday met with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and government peace panel in Davao City.

The meeting took place a day after Duterte visited Sulu and urged the people there to scrutinize the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is still pending in Congress.

Present during Tuesday’s meeting were MILF Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, BTC Chair Ghadzali Jaafar and MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Adelino Sitoy and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go also joined the President.

Like the President, the MILF leaders have also been calling for BBL’s passage first before the ratification of the new Constitution.

During his visit in Patikul town in Sulu, Duterte appealed for unity, saying a lot of tribes in Mindanao should be considered in crafting the BBL.

He expressed doubts whether people would accept BBL considering the differences of many Muslim groups in Mindanao.

Duterte said he decided to talk to the people of Sulu because he wanted to see the BBL finished within this year.

“I have to fathom it. That’s why I need to talk to you and I want to finish it this year. I want to have a result of this by the end of the year,” he said.

SENATE VERSION

In the Senate, subcommittee on BBL chairman Juan Miguel Zubiri endorsed for plenary debates on March 1 its BBL version that is “96-percent BTC.”

Zubiri eyes the submission of the approved bicameral version of the BBL before Duterte’s state-of-the-nation address in July.

On the other hand, the House of Representatives is still consolidating four bills seeking to provide for the BBL and abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have conducted BBL hearings and consultations in Mindanao.