Last month, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte a new version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that would replace the original bill which failed to win congressional approval as some of its provisions were deemed unconstitutional.
Last week, another version of the BBL was filed in the House of Representatives by former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo “to achieve just and lasting peace for a unified nation.”
House Bill 6121 or the proposed “Basic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” seeks to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a new political division called Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” (BAR) that “truly reflects the aspirations of our Muslim brothers and sisters as well as the indigenous brethren, representation to indigenous peoples, women, the sultanates, and other key stakeholders.”
What is new here is that BAR will consist of the present geographical area of the ARMM, but also include Cotabato and Isabela City in Basilan, as well as any province or city contiguous and outside the geographical area of the current ARMM where there is a local government unit resolution or a petition of at least 10 percent of the registered voters asking for their inclusion two months before the plebiscite of the Basic Law for the BAR.
The Bangsamoro Regional Government (BRG), with a parliamentary system of government, will have the right for self-governance even though it remains part of the Philippines.
The BRG will be governed by a 60-member Bangsamoro Parliament headed by the Chief Minister duly elected by a majority vote of all its members. Non-Moro indigenous peoples will also have reserved seats in the Parliament, pursuant to their customary laws.
In exercising its sovereignty, the National Government shall give due consideration to the distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures of all the inhabitants in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
The question now is: Will this proposed bill be acceptable to Muslim Filipinos and lead to peace and development in Muslim Mindanao?