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Cebu News

Iqbal: BBL passage in December

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - After both the Moro National Democratic Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a joint communication urging the passage of an “undiluted” Bangsamoro Basic Law, MILF peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal is optimistic it would finally be passed in the Senate Bicameral Committee.

“I am hoping and I am optimistic, despite varied versions of the House, Senate and the Aquino administration, it will be approved into law before the end of the year,” he said in an interview yesterday.

The first timeline set for the passage of the BBL was December last year. But obviously it was not approved and when the tragic Mamasapano incident happened on January 25, when 44 Special Action Forces policemen were killed in Maguindanao.

BBL’s deliberation suffered a three-month delay, and the deadline was reset to June 11 then to September, to October, and now on December 16, 2015.

“Let us hope that it (passage) will happen. If this will not be passed in this administration, we will continue to look for peace for Mindanao. There is no other option but to look for peace,” said Iqbal during the Cebu leg of the Media Roundtable on the Bangsamoro yesterday.

He said the BBL is “moving slowly at the House of Representatives” where there is consistent lack of quorum.

At the Senate, Iqbal said, there is slighter sign of life wherein the substitute bill authored by Senator Bongbong Marcos revised 80 percent of the original BBL.

“Marcos thinks he knows better than the rest of the peace panel. His substitute bill will not solve the problems in Mindanao,” Iqbal said, adding, “If a law were to be passed out of Marcos’ substitute bill, it would be much lesser than the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) and (create what would be) just like an ordinary local government unit.”

He said every one of us can help as the passage of the BBL is a national interest. He contended that when there is peace, everybody reaps the fruit in the same manner that when a war breaks out, everybody feels the heat.

He said that because the BBL seeks to establish peace in Mindanao after 42 years of armed conflict and 17 years of “long, hard and harsh negotiations”, the government has to resort to all possible extra effort and measures to get it passed.

“The only fitting and lasting legacy President (Benigno) Aquino (III) can give to our people, especially those in Mindanao, is lasting peace through the passage of the BBL,” Iqbal said.

Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairman of the Government Peace Panel, said in the same forum that the BBL is not just for the MILF.

“It protects the rights and welfare of all inhabitants of the prospective Bangsamoro (territory),” she said.

Ferrer said the MILF is committed to observe the ceasefire and undergo decommissioning of weapons and combatants while other groups continue to use violent and indiscriminate means.

She said that despite the opposition, many sectors of society, especially those who understand what the draft is all about, speak positively about the BBL. (FREEMAN)

 

 

 

ACIRC

AT THE SENATE

AUTONOMOUS REGION OF MUSLIM MINDANAO

BANGSAMORO

BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW

BBL

GOVERNMENT PEACE PANEL

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

IQBAL

MINDANAO

PEACE

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