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Marcos to MILF: Be open-minded to BBL amendments

Louis Bacani - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is appealing to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to be "open-minded" and "a little flexible" on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is expected to be amended by lawmakers following the Mamasapano incident.

In a statement released on Thursday, Marcos said Congress cannot just rubber stamp the draft BBL as it has been given by the government and the MILF.

"We (lawmakers) are not out to make changes in the BBL just because we like to do so. We would be making changes, amendments, add or delete provisions because in our view, that is the best way to make a more robust and effective law," Marcos said.

"Let us not forget that our ultimate goal of BBL is for peace in Muslim Mindanao. And we will strive to pass the best BBL as possible so that we would achieve a true and lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao," he added.

The BBL will serve as the enabling law for the proposed Bangsamoro entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The measure is a result of the comprehensive peace agreement signed by the MILF and government last year. It will specify how the national government and the Bangsamoro will share power and wealth in the region.

The fate of the BBL has become uncertain after 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force were killed in the Mamasapano operation in the hands of MILF combatants and its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

President Aquino has urged lawmakers not to abandon the BBL and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has asked Congress to pass the measure without changes.

RELATED: Palace expects MILF to accept BBL provisions

However, Marcos insisted that Congress has the power to amend or revise some contentious BBL provisions.

"We cannot abandon our function to make sure that at the very least, hopefully more, that any bill we pass in Congress is legal, is constitutional and is enforceable. Those are the same three tests that we will apply to the Bangsamoro Basic Law," Marcos said.

“And then of course, we are still waiting for the final conclusion of the investigations into the Mamasapano massacre," he also said.

AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BBL CHAIR AL HAJ MURAD EBRAHIM MAMASAPANO MARCOS JR. MILF MUSLIM MINDANAO
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