MILF dismayed by BBL fiasco

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has expressed its deep disappointment and grave dismay over the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Houses of Congress.

The MILF said its lamentation is "mirrored by the tangible frustration of the great majority of the Bangsamoro people, the peace loving populace not only in Mindanao but also in the entire country, and even those in other nations who have been closely following and keenly observing the unfolding of the more than 17 years of peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF."

It said: "The BBL would have been the key mechanism in implementing the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by and between the GPH and MILF."

The MILF said it has done its part by "faithfully complying with all its obligations and responsibilities under the signed agreements," as a gesture of good faith and sincerity to the peace deal.

The GPH and MILF signed on March 27, 2014 the CAB, witnessed by MILF leaders and members, peace advocates, diplomats, the international community and government officials, which sent a strong signal to the Bangsamoro and Filipino people of the two Parties' willingness to end the decades of conflict in southern Philippines.

The CAB provides the crafting of the BBL and its passage by the Philippine Congress. The BBL is the legal translation of the peace deal that has promised to provide the Bangsamoro people a self-rule through a parliamentary regional government with more political and fiscal powers.

"It has entrusted the passage of the BBL to the GPH since the process was entirely internal to the latter, and all its concerned structures had the obligation to deliver the law that could have truly implemented the terms of the agreements in letter and spirit It was not an easy decision to make and required a great deal of patience, perseverance and steadfastness," the MILF said.

"It was also fraught with risks and vicissitudes of legislation. But the BBL was no longer in the hands of the MILF since the process and responsibility of delivering the legislative measure had already shifted to the Philippine government after the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) submitted it to both Houses of Congress."

The MILF stressed that the peace process will not only benefit the organization but the entire people in the area and the country in general.

The business community had manifested their support to the peace process through their statements issued last year expressing hope for the realization of the peace agreement that will eventually usher development of Mindanao.

"It is at moments like these that we call upon all our Bangsamoro brethren and all peace loving people to join hands, consolidate and vigorously rally behind the cause to pursue with persistence the passage of the BBL and the full implementation of the CAB, be it in the present government or the upcoming administration," the MILF said.

The MILF said it will remain persevere in upholding the peace process and preserve its gains in spite of the non-passage of the BBL.

"We wish to express our profound gratitude and herein appeal to Malaysia, the facilitating country of the Peace Process, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation , the various countries that supported the process, United Nations agencies and international NGOs, be they part of the formal structures of the GPH-MILF peace process or not, as well as sympathizers to continue and intensify their efforts in supporting the advancement of the peace process and use their influence to ensure that the next Philippine government will uphold and faithfully implement the CAB in accordance with the agreed roadmap."

The MILF urges all its officers, commanders and members of the MILF Political Wing and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) to strictly follow and abide by the instructions and guidelines of the MILF Central Committee.

The front also calls upon the Bangsamoro people and the other people in the area to remain patient and become the "beacons of hope in the advocacy for peace with justice."

Meanwhile, the next administration must sustain the momentum of the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process, Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said yesteday.

Deles likewise emphasized that the challenges encountered in the Aquino administration in pushing for the passage of the BBL brought positive effects.

Source: Tribune

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