Entitled “Close-up Conversation on the Issues and Challenges of the BBL” the activity gathered 25 selected sectoral representatives in the Bangsamoro to discuss and analyze some prevailing issues and challenges pertinent to the legislation process of the newly drafted BBL. The EnPolD project provided the needed dialogue arena for the Bangsamoro people to continuously inform each other, discuss, and assess political issues towards an inclusive understanding and collective action in support of the peace process.

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During the forum, MILF Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal explained why the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is a national interest. According to him, the draft basic law will deliver the following national benefits: 1) It will contribute largely to addressing the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people; 2) End the long-standing suffering of the peoples of Mindanao, especially Moros; 3) Foster unity and harmony; 4) Bring in progress and economic development; and 5) Shield against rising violent extremism and radicalism.

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On the Future of the BBL
Answering to the question about the future of the BBL and the Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination, the resource persons explained that everything really depends on the outcome of the enactment/legislative, judicial scrutiny, and implementation processes. Presently, all things pertinent to the Bangsamoro are subject to all these processes.

The previous Aquino administration was confident about the proposed law hurdling the stringent process - beginning with the legislature and all through the judicial scrutiny. However, this cannot be said of the present administration, as it is very unpredictable. In the meantime, while there is uncertainty, the MILF is seriously intent on strengthening its organization.

Other pertinent issues that surfaced, include:
a. Constitutionality question
b. Plebiscite
c. Sharing of power
d. Allocation of seats in the legislative body
e. Representation of minorities in the Bangsamoro Parliament
f. Decommissioning
g. Policing
h. Issues on the traditional politicians and clan heads
i. Electoral system

Generally, there was prevailing apprehension on the passage of the BBL. One salient suggestion was to push for the proposed federal setup as antidote to the legal constitutional issues. The proponent reasoned that the BBL could be integrated within the federal setup – minus the current constitutional roadblocks.

The participants agreed on a consensus to sustain the advocacy for the legislative passage of the BBL. Nonetheless, one of the participants pointed the need to manage the expectations of the people, should the BBL failed to pass in Congress. A calibrated message should be floated, accordingly.