Friday, February 12, 2016

“Only way forward is to refile or craft CAB-Compliant BBL by BTC with new members”: Iqbal

From the Website of MILF

“Only way forward is to refile or craft CAB-Compliant BBL by BTC with new members”: Iqbal 

After the non-passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the 16th Congress, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels met today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a two-day meeting, PDI said in its report. 
MILF Peace panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal in his opening statement was straightforward in saying that there is “widespread frustration on the ground by our people and members of the MILF” as result of the failure of government, particularly Congress, to pass the BBL.

Chairman Iqbal also said that the aim of the meeting is to jointly find ways and means to address the dangerous situation and avoid actions that may increase the frustrations.

He pointed out that, “The most immediate step is either the BBL will be refilled in Congress or a new basic law, faithful to the letter and spirit of the CAB, will be crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which will most likely have new faces as members. This is the only way forward”.

He emphasized that both the government and the MILF “must provide them hope that there is a chance” that a Bangsamoro law would be passed “whoever the next President would be.”

Iqbal said the BBL must remain compliant with the peace agreement, called the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), signed between the government and the MILF in 2014.

“This must be in the form of firm and unequivocal commitment from government that it shall continue to comply with its obligations under the CAB, particularly on the passage of the CAB-compliant BBL, which is a unilateral obligation of government,” Iqbal said.

 “On the part of the MILF, we assure everyone including the international community that we will adhere to the CAB and comply with its obligations. And finally, in order to preserve the gains of the peace process, government and MILF should journey together in faithfully implementing the CAB, guided by the principle of ‘as is, where is’, PDI quoted Iqbal saying. 

The proposed Bangsamoro Law will entrench a new region called Bangsamoro that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).