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Keeping Tabs on the BBL | CMFR

Keeping Tabs on the BBL

Screengrab from MindaNews website.

 

DURING THE turnover ceremony of the new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) draft in Malacañang on July 17, Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) chair Ghazali Jaafar proclaimed it as the “best antidote to violent extremism,” in light of the Marawi siege. Yet, the promise of the BBL remains uncertain despite President Duterte’s pledge of its passage and his repeated statements of this key commitment to the Moros.

CMFR cheers MindaNews for tracking the progress of that promise and keeping the BBL as a consistent theme in the public forum. MindaNews’ continuing effort in reporting the BBL is a much-needed and relevant initiative, especially in the present context of the emergence of ISIS-inspired extremist activities in Mindanao which is an issue that the BBL also seeks to address.

Although mainstream media also report the issue, MindaNews’ coverage proves more informative, as it includes background and context that comes from its long experience of covering the issue. What a difference it makes when reports carry more than the current statements made by public officials.

Opinion pieces in MindaNews carry more detailed discussion of the issues that are involved in the BBL. For example, a comparative analysis of the previous and present forms of the BBL is found in “Riverman’s Vista” written by lawyer and former Ateneo School of Government Dean Antonio La Viña. He highlights the slight differences and improvements between the old and new drafts, and the challenges the 2017 BBL would face.

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In keeping with its efforts to track the BBL, MindaNews on more than one occasion also called attention to the delays on the bill’s progress, recalling statements by pertinent government officials in Congress on whose hands the BBL’s fate rests.

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With the many issues confronting the Duterte administration, the BBL could easily fall into some deep crack in the nation’s awareness. As such, MindaNews’s work to keep in the public’s attention the progress of the BBL is valuable; indeed, the kind of necessary journalism that concerned Filipinos should be following if they really care about the future of the country.