A day after Eid’l Fitr or the end of Ramadan, President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday night reiterated his promise to try to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law “without any cuts,” but at the same time sought more time in case it did not work out.
“We will try to pass the BBL with no cuts. I’m sure the Speaker will agree with me,” Duterte said in his speech at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City, referring to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The same day, Duterte received a copy of the draft Bangsamoro State Constitution, an alternative solution within the framework of federalism drafted by a 19-member All Moro Convention.
Duterte urged Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim to wait for the passage of the final version of the BBL, assuring him that what was not included in BBL could be added in the federal scheme of things.
“If nothing really works out with the BBL, then give us time because I do not want to fight. I do not wage war against my own countrymen,” Duterte said.
Alvarez was one of the lawmakers who asked Duterte to certify the BBL as urgent, and Duterte acknowledged that request on May 29.
Duterte also expressed hope that Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari would join the peace talks.
“We will try to pass the BBL. I hope Chairman Misuari can be convinced to join the talks so that if there are corrections or maybe additions or provisions that would not sit well with the Tausug and the rest of the southern part of Mindanao, then maybe we can realize altogether the friction,” Duterte said.
But he said if he remained stubborn and insisted on intransigence, it could result in war, which he said he did not want to experience during his term.
Duterte reiterated his commitment to shift to a federal form of government along with the BBL to alleviate poverty and the Muslim separatist insurgency.
“The time for federalism has come to our country. We have to move away from the unitary form of government, which has been in existence or set up originally by the Spaniards,” Duterte said.
“Look, we’re all human beings. Let us not abandon each other. Let us not forget that we belong to the Malay race.”