Jaafar believes bicam version of BBL not 'watered-down'

Bandera (Mindanao) - - FRONT PAGE -

CONGRESS’ bicameral panel’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not watereddown, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chair Ghaza l i Jaafar said on Thursday.

Jaafar, who is also vice chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) central committee, made the satatemtnt after the bicameral conference panel on BBL decided to adopt House’s proposed prov is ion on the Bangsamoro territory and plebiscite, which states that local government units may join the envisioned region only if their mother province or town would also vote in favor of inclusion.

The decision came after President Rodrigo Duterte, along with his other legal men, convinced both chambers of Congress that it would be unconstitutional not to allow themother provinces of the six municipalities of Lanao Del No r t e and the 39 barangays of North Cotabato to vote on their inclusion to the Bangsamoro territory.

“We don’t consider this as a watered-down BBL… The BBL now as you see it, unless it is changed drastically, it is no longer ARMM-minus. It is ARMM+++…” Jaafar told reporters before the resumption of BBL bicameral panel conference in the House.

“We hope, we pray the bicameral conference will not change what has been… discussed and approved,” he added.

Jaafar also said that although Congress failed to allow the inclusion of the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and the 39 barangays of North Cotabato to the envisioned Bangsamoro region, they “respect the process of lawmaking” and believe in the reasoning of the President.

“Ti m e and again sinasabi po natin, we love this President, we respect him so much, we listen to him, he’s a brother, he’s f ro m Mi n d a n a o … Naniniwala kami sa reason ng mahal naming Pangulo,” he said.

Under the House provision in House Bill 6475, the six Lanao del Norte towns and 39 Cotabato villages can only join the Bangsamoro region if the majority of voters in their provinces agree to let them.

Meanwhile, under Senate’s version of the BBL, or Senate Bill No. 1717, the villages and towns can join the envisioned Bangsamoro region once their residents vote in favor of their inclusion through a plebiscite.

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