Lawyer Michael Mastura, president of the All Moro Convention and head of the drafting team, handed over to the President a copy of the Bangsamoro State Constitution during the 2018 Eid’l Fitr celebration held at the SMX Convention Center on Saturday night here.
Another copy will be given to the Constitutional Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution, the body which is currently working on a federal Constitution.
The draft Bangsamoro State Constitution was prepared since December 2017 and signed by the members of the All-Moro Convention and the technical working group on June 2 at the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) office.
Mastura said the 19 members of the All Moro Convention met in December 2017 and agreed that they must write a state constitution for the Bangsamoro that would jive with the proposal of the President to shift to federalism.
Speaking before Moro leaders including the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, members of the Cabinet, House of Representatives and the Senate, Duterte reiterated that the time for federalism has come to the country.
“We have to move away from the style of a unitary form of government, which has been in existence or set up originally by the Spaniards. It has always been a strong central government,” he said.
The unitary government, Duterte said, was good that time because the Philippines was developing as a nation amid the struggles of both Christians and Muslims in Mindanao.
“I am for federalism. I am for peace,” Duterte stressed.
He said, however, that he does not have the draft of the federal Constitution. If it will be submitted to him that would be the time he could tell what Federal model would be adopted.
He also assured the public to try to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) with the hope that MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari could be convinced to join the talks so that corrections or additions that would sit well with the Tausug and the southern part of Mindanao could be corrected.
He also encouraged the MILF, led by its chairman, Al Haj-Murad Ebrahim, to join and observe how the government is crafting federalism.
Presently, the Congress is eyeing the ratification of a bicameral conference committee report on the BBL in July when Duterte delivers his state of the nation address.
A bicameral conference will need to reconcile the versions of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“If nothing really works out of BBL, then give us time because I do not want to fight. I do not wage a war against my own countrymen,” he stressed.
Duterte urged Murad to wait for the passage of the final version of the BBL, assuring him that what is not included in the BBL can be added in the federal scheme of things.
“Ilagay na natin (Let’s include it there). But it must be something like alongside the Philippine Constitution,” Duterte said. PNA
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