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Sotto: No need to railroad federalism efforts after Bangsamoro Organic Law approval

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2018




FILE PHOTO: Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III


MANILA, Philippines — The proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law hurdles the scrutiny of the bicameral conference committee following the reconciliation of all its sensitive and contentious provisions on Wednesday (July 18).

And with the expected enactment of the proposal, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the Congress will no longer need to railroad the efforts for the shift to federalism.

During a weekly press briefing at the Senate, Sotto noted that the proposed organic law could be a good test case to see if a federal type of government would work in the country.

“Magandang experimental itong Bangsamoro Organic Act. Dito makikita natin kaya hindi natin kailangang apurahin yung federalism,” Sotto said.

The measure seeking to create a Bangsamoro entity that aims to help attain lasting peace in Mindanao is expected to be ratified by the Congress on July 23.

President Duterte is expected to sign the bill into law on the same day when he delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Sotto added that in the two years of the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Act, the public would be able to weigh in if it is effective or not.

He said that the Congress can always repeal the law if it fails to cease the hostilities. But if it turns out positive, it would not be hard to push for charter change.

Sotto admitted that for now, he is not keen to push for the immediate passage of the proposed federal charter as it contains issues that need to be thoroughly scrutinized.

These include the proposed political party system, putting up of a democracy fund and the anti-political dynasty.

“Maraming debatable issues pa,” said the Senate president.

The Senate leader plans to call for a caucus after the SONA on Monday (July 23) to get his fellow senators’ take on the proposed constitutional revisions. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Duterte: Misuari to wage war if push for federalism fails

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Courtesy : PCOO President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (right) chats with Moro National Liberation Front Founding Chairman Nur Misuari (left) at a meeting at the Malacañan Palace on March 19, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Founding Chairman Nur Misuari has threatened to go to war against the government if the proposed shift to federalism is rejected, President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on Wednesday.

Duterte met with Misuari in Malacañang on Tuesday night upon the latter’s return from his trip to Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. This was already their second meeting in less than a month since the formal ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The BOL was the result of the government’s negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which was established by former MNLF members.

“Sabi ni Misuari kagabi (Misuari told me last night), if you do not give it [federalism] to me, let me be very honest. I will go to war,” Duterte said during a campaign sortie of the PDP-Laban in Marikina City on Wednesday.

The President said he assured Misuari that he understands his stand but the approval of the proposal as well as the type of the federal system to be used depends on Congress. The 1987 Philippine Constitution would also have to be amended to enable the shift to federalism.

Duterte also said that a panel will be formed between the government and MNLF for the negotiations.

“Let’s form a panel because you have to inform the people. We cannot negotiate secretly here. Sabi ko, (I told him) day-to-day they will be briefed kung ano ang outcome (about the outcome). How gusto mong ma-apply ‘yang federal system sa gusto mo (how do you want the federal system to be applied). Will it be like the BOL or a different type?” he said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, denied allegations that Duterte’s move to reveal Misuari’s warning is meant to influence the Congress and the public to approve the proposed federalism.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President only wanted to let the public know about the importance of the bill.

“He responded to that and said, if it fails, we will be dying together. Ibig sabihin, lalabanan kita, ‘yun ang ibig sabihin ni President, lalabanan mo gobyerno, eh di lalabanan din kita, (it means, I will fight against you, that was what the President meant. If you go against the government then I will also fight you.)” Panelo said.

Although the MNLF’s threat is serious, Panelo said that Misuari has also expressed hope that federalism will be realized during Duterte’s term.

The shift to federalism is one of Duterte’s campaign promises.

The House of Representatives had passed its version of the proposed Charter Amendment while the Senate has yet to tackle the bill. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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AFP, PNP strengthen forces for BOL plebiscite

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) beefed up its troops on the second day of plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The second round of plebiscite on Wednesday (February 6) will cover the province of Lanao del Norte except Iligan City and in 67 barangays in North Cotabato.

Westmincom Commander Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega directed all ground commanders to remain on guard to maintain peace and order on the duration of the referendum.

Meanwhile, AFP Spokesperson Gerry Besana said the military is making sure to avoid a repeat of the violence that happened on the first day of plebiscite on January 21.

“Napag-usapan doon ang deployment ng tropa (and) how we can address ang katulad ng situation kung saka-sakali man para ang nangyari noong January 21 (maiwasan at) mas maganda (ito) ngayong February 6,” Besana said.

The Police Regional Office in Region 10 (PRO-10) deployed a total of 2,000 cops to augment the military.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) urged the residents of the concerned municipalities to go and vote despite the blasts in three towns on Monday (February 4) as they were intended to scare the people.

Authorities assured to protect the security of the voting public in areas where the plebiscite is taking place.

The Comelec is expecting some 300,000 voters in Lanao del Norte who will decide if they want the six municipalities in the province to join the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

These are the municipalities of Baloi, Pantar, Tagoloan, Munai, Tangkal, and Nunungan. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)

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Tough challenges await MILF in BOL leadership — Analysts

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform

The passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is being counted upon to resolve the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao region.

Under the BOL, a more powerful Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Cotabato City has spoken with a resounding “yes” vote in Tuesday’s plebiscite for the ratification of BOL.

This automatically includes Cotabato City in the formation of BARMM which will be headed by an 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until the year 2022 when the first election for the leadership of a parliament will be held.

The BTA members are to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

It is expected that majority of the members will come from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Nevertheless, according to Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, the MILF still has bigger challenges ahead of them, particularly during the transition period.

“BTA pa lang, coalition government na yan eh. You need to talk with a lot of people, some of them are political enemies and they have to risk consensus. There’s a problem ng statesmanship. It’s not anymore na partisan ka lang simple. Meron kang gustong mangyari, ito yung shift sa thinking, you have to think as if ikaw na ngayon ang lider ng buong rehiyon,” explained Casiple.

For peace and conflict analyst, Francisco Lara Jr. the existence of private armed groups in Mindanao poses another challenge for the BTA.

“The power of clans, the power of armed groups to dictate developments at the local level in critical communities, remain. And that will be the biggest challenge as well for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” Lara said.

When the second plebiscite in other parts of Mindanao concludes on February 6, it will be confirmed which areas will form the new territories under BARMM. — Nel Maribojoc

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