Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Monday that he will personally submit to Congress a bill that would create the Bangsamoro, an autonomous area in the southern region of Mindanao that is expected to settle a decades-old Muslim separatist rebellion and spur growth in a resource-rich part of the country.
Mr. Aquino said he would submit the bill to lawmakers this Wednesday in ceremonies that will be held in the presidential palace.
Teresita Quintos Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, said the president “has decided to personally submit the completed draft to Congress to highlight the importance of the proposed legislative measure.”
Murad Ebrahim, chairman of Muslim separatist group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, met with Mr. Aquino last week to agree on a final draft of the Bangsamoro bill.
The proposed legislation comes nearly two years after the government and the MILF, which split from the Moro National Liberation Front to become the country’s biggest Muslim rebel group, signed a peace deal superseding one from 1997. Mr. Aquino called that deal a failed experiment for its inability to deliver on development objectives set at the region’s inception.
Mr. Aquino wants the bill passed by Congress before the year ends. This deadline would allow enough time for a referendum in the areas affected by the bill and to set up the Bangsamoro regional government before he leaves office by June 2016.