Bangsamoro Assembly postponed anew

By Edwin Fernandez

October 30, 2017, 7:20 pm

COTABATO CITY -- For the third time around, the long-awaited Bangsamoro Assembly scheduled on November 3-4 at the old provincial capitol compound in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, has been reset to a still unspecified date, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) announced Sunday night.

Ghazali Jaafar, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chair for political affairs and BTC chair, made the announcement in a statement, "due to reason beyond our control”.

It is the BTC that is working for the assembly. But in a radio interview Monday, Jaafar said the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) informed him of the deferral since President Rodrigo Duterte, the event’s guest of honor, is busy for the upcoming ASEAN Summit scheduled in Manila.

Jaafar said the PMS told him that Duterte would not be available until after Nov. 18. Duterte chairs the ASEAN Summit and is busy for the upcoming regional event.

“The BTC agreed to PMS request and we are informing our people about the postponement,” he said, adding, “Once the final date is available, we will immediately inform the public.”

The gathering will highlight discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) with the Bangsamoro people that would replace and expand the old set up of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The BBL, composed of 21 members from the government and the Bangsamoro people, forms part of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that the government and MILF signed in 2014.

The asembly, expected to gather at least 500,000 people, was postponed twice in the past due to the unavailability of resource persons. (PNA)