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Duterte asks for more time on passing BBL without cuts

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MANILA — A day after Eid’l Fitr, or the end of Ramadan, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Saturday night reiterated his promise to try to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) “without any cuts” but at the same time, sought for more time in case it does 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.

Alvarez was one of the lawmakers who asked Duterte to certify the legislation as urgent. The President approved this request on May 29. Speaking before Muslim leaders from various sectors, Duterte also sought for more time if in case the BBL does not “work out.”

“If nothing really works out dito sa (here in the) BBL, then give us time. Because I do not want to fight. I do not wage a war against my own countrymen,” Duterte said.

Duterte also expressed hope that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari would be convinced to 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 Tausug and the rest of the southern part of Mindanao, then maybe we can realize altogether the friction,” Duterte said.

Duterte, however, said that if he remained stubborn and insisted on intransigence, it could result to war, which he said he did not want to experience during his term.

“Pero kung sabihin mo na, if you kind of adopt an intransigence behavior, magpatigasan (But if you want to adopt an intransigence behavior, remain stubborn) it will result in a war. Kindly, if you want, do not do it on my term,” he added.

Moreover, Duterte also reiterated his commitment to shift to a federalism form of government along with 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 style of 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,” he added. (PNA)