Government troops take their positions as about 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, held scores of hostages as human shields Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in a standoff with government forces for the second day with no solution in sight at the southern port city of Zamboanga, in southern Philippines. More battle-ready troops and police were flown to the southern port city of Zamboanga in a bid to end the crisis. (MNS photo)

Government troops take their positions as about 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, held scores of hostages as human shields Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in a standoff with government forces for the second day with no solution in sight at the southern port city of Zamboanga, in southern Philippines. More battle-ready troops and police were flown to the southern port city of Zamboanga in a bid to end the crisis. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro) expressed elation over the presidential submission of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law because it marks the start of exhaustive debates on the future of Mindanao.

The Mindanao lawmaker noted that various stakeholders of the peace process in and outside of Mindanao have been eagerly awaiting the formal submission of the draft Bangsamoro law since its passage will pave the way for the creation of a new Bangsamoro political entity.

“As a proud Mindanaonon, I am very happy and thankful that the review process by the Office of the President is finally over and we can now study the legislative proposals of the government and MILF peace panels as contained in the draft crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission,” Rodriguez said.

The Mindanao legislator expects that the special committee that was created in the House of Representatives will focus on the proposed measure rather than spreading the work among different committees.

He urged lawmakers to keep an open mind about the provisions contained in the administration bill, which will still be subjected to public hearings and plenary debates.

“We need to approach this legislative proposal with the intent to end decades of fighting that have caused massive displacement of families in Mindanao. Let us provide democratic space so that all voices would be heard during the public hearings including those from the Moro National Liberation Front, the BIFF, indigenous tribes, Christians, and other sectors,” Rodriguez stressed.

He said that members of Congress have all agreed to give the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law utmost priority, considering that it will open the doors to the creation of a new regional government in lieu of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

“The timeline is tight but doable, precisely because the commitment is there to help our brothers and sisters in Bangsamoro areas obtain the peace that they clearly deserve,” Rodriguez said. (MNS)