2017/50, 22 August 2017
The Marawi City siege is the latest symptom of the profound political alienation of Muslim Mindanao.
Two timing problems with this current draft bill suggest that it, like its Aquino administration predecessor, may fail again at this key legislative stage:
1) In the House of Representatives, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a key Duterte ally, has tabled a separate and distinctly different bill to establish a Bangsamoro regional autonomous government. This will delay and greatly complicate the House’s deliberations. It likely will mean that any Bangsamoro bill passed by the House will be substantially different to any passed by the Senate. These differences will likely extend and aggravate the congressional process of negotiating a single reconciled bill to submit to the President.
2) President Duterte has consistently argued that the passage of a Bangsamoro Basic Law and its establishment of a Bangsamoro regional autonomous government is an interim step to the establishment of a devolved federal system of government for the Philippines. No plan for this federal system has been made public. Yet, the current government timeline calls for the referendum to approve the required constitutional amendments to be held in 2019.