Friday, June 12, 2015

“We welcome enhancement and improvement of BBL” : Chairman Iqbal

From the Website of MILF

“We welcome enhancement and improvement of BBL” : Chairman Iqbal

“We welcome enhancement and improvement of BBL” : Chairman Iqbal

Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel in a news forum at Malate, Manila said yesterday, June 11 that “the position of the MILF is very clear. Knowing fully well the mandate of congress. . . its plenary powers, we welcome enhancement and improvement of the Bangsamor Basic Law (BBL). We leave to congress how to do that”.

He said that the secessionist group is open to moves of Congress to enhance or improve the proposed BBL but disagrees with the plan of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to just amend Republic Act No. 9054, the Organic Law of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), instead of pushing the proposed BBL.

Iqbal said the MILF leadership will decide whether to accept or reject the BBL after its enactment, but right now the MILF is leaving no stone unturned for its passage. “We have extensive engagements with legislators, so we cannot blame ourselves later on.”
 “Let Senator Bongbong Marcos do what makes him happy,” Iqbal stressed.

 Iqbal made it clear he has full respect for the Marcos scion, but beg to disagree with his plans to amend the ARMM Law.

“So, my personal view, is what makes Senator Bongbong Marcos happy, let him just do it,” Iqbal, a member of the MILF Central Committee and chairman of its Information Committee, said.

Iqbal also said that the proposed BBL is a product of 17 years of peace negotiations with the Philippine government (GPH), three major wars, so many battles, and thousands of deaths.

“Then, all of a sudden one man comes up and undo the work of many,” Iqbal said.
“This time I don’t believe that one man is better than many,” said Iqbal, alluding to the 15 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), consisting of eight representatives from the MILF and seven from government; legal luminaries, Malacañang legal counsels, among others who went through the draft BBL.

He said there were many who crafted the BBL, so what can one man do, what would be his basis.

The MILF leader added that those who crafted the BBL knew what they were doing, adding the BTC has members from the Moro ethnic groups, Indigenous People (IP), a Christian, and some lawyers.

Iqbal reiterated that what has been said by MILF leaders on the BBL. “No BBL is better than a bad BBL. What Marcos is going to do just amend ARMM law is not acceptable,” he said.

Iqbal said a Supreme Court decision thumbed down the ARMM as only an administrative region, not autonomous.

So what is lacking in the ARMM, and the best in the ARMM were incorporated in the BBL when it was drafted.

Iqbal said he heard he was being invited by Marcos to join him in coming up with an amendatory law. However, Iqbal said he is not inclined to accept the invitation, though there is no official word yet from the senator, whose father is being blamed by Moros for the Mindanao conflict and many massacres of Moros at the height of the war.

Iqbal recalled that the primary objective of the peace talks between the Moro groups with the government, starting with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the 1970s, was to resolve the Mindanao conflict and address the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people for self-determination.

It means self-governance, said the MILF leader.