Dureza: Draft BBL to be turned over to Duterte on July 17

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 11) — The draft of a law aimed at bringing peace to Mindanao is set to be turned over to President Rodrigo Duterte on July 17, a top official said Tuesday.

The draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be turned over by the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) at 5:30 p.m. at Malacanang Palace, said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.

"The BTC will turnover to the President the copy of their work that had been done over the past few months," he said.

BTC is comprised of 21 members, with representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front. The draft was finished on June 6, but the turnover has been delayed four times.

It aims to establish a new region for the Bangsamoro, a collective term for Filipino Muslims, to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Dureza said his office will encourage Duterte to certify the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law as urgent.

"We will recommend that it will be certified as an urgent bill. But as you know very well, the President makes the final call," he said.

He added another recommendation is for Duterte to immediately turn over the draft to Senate President Koko Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, but reiterated the President will decide.

Dureza earlier said he hopes Pimentel and Alvarez will be present during the turnover ceremony so the draft BBL can be immediately handed over to them.

"Ang plano yata niya and kasama din yun sa aming consensus, ituturnover sa kanya ng BTC. But the President will not deal with it. He will turn it over immediately to Congress," he said on June 29.

Duterte, the first President from Mindanao, promised during the 2016 presidential campaign to pass the BBL if he were elected.

Government implementing panel chair for the Bangsamoro Irene Santiago told CNN Philippines' The Source last June 7 that the BBL would address the root cause of extremism in Mindanao.

The BBL was first submitted to the Aquino administration in 2014, but its passage was stalled after the killing of 44 members of an elite unit of police by rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in January 2015.

Despite succeeding attempts, the previous Congress failed to pass when it adjourned in February 2016.