Filipino Muslims pray for passage of self rule law as fasting month ends

Hope Senators and House of Representatives finish work on the Bangsamoro Basic Law

Manila: Thousands of Filipino Muslims joined their families for Eid festivities across the country amid fervent hopes that a law that would provide them with genuine self-rule would be passed.

Muslims in the Philippines attended Eid prayers at the Golden Mosque and Cultural Centre in Manila’s Quiapo district to celebrate Eid Al Fitr.

Haji Mohammad Ersad Malli, administrator of the Golden Mosque said as the tasting month ended for Filipino Muslims, he hopes Senators and House of Representatives finish with their work with the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“We are praying and hoping that the BBL will become a law. We, who are in Luzon, are also affected by conflicts in the south. God willing, BBL will push through, according to them the bill is now in the bicameral and we hope it would be signed before the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Malli was quoted by the state-run Philippine News Agency as saying.

During the last week of May the House and the Senate passed their respective versions of the BBL, a legal framework for a Moro self-rule region in southern Philippines that would replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The ARMM, which is already more than two decades old, had failed to end the fighting in southern Philippines as it failed miserably to address the root causes of the conflict such as inequity in the distribution of wealth, among others.

The two chambers’ work on the BBL marks the first time proposals on this matter had gone past discussions in the plenary.

Still, work on the law is still far from finished and a consolidated version of the Senate and House versions of the proposal must be approved first in the bicameral conference committee (Bicam), before it can be submitted for Duterte’s approval.

Duterte in May certified the BBL as an “urgent” measure.

It had been hoped that the BBL will finally bring peace in southern Philippines.

“We pray every day for peace to reign in Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City,” he said.

Known as the Philippines’ Islamic City with more than 90 per cent of the population Muslim, Marawi City was turned into a battleground last year for five months as Daesh-inspired groups mounted an insurrection and tried to establish an Islamic fundamentalist “caliphate” in the city.

The fighting disrupted the lives of destroyed homes of the residents and left more than a thousand dead.

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