OIC head calls for support for BBL, says it will not lead to secession
ORGANIZATION of Islamic Conference head Iyad Bin Amin Madani called on the Filipino public, on Monday, to support the Bangsamoro Basic Law as a way of fully realizing the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Facing the press with Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles, Madani emphasized that the BBL would not lead to secession by the Moros, as feared by many. He said the Tripoli Agreement in 1973 had buried any talk of secession and independence from the Republic of the Philippines.
“The Tripoli Agreement put to rest calls for an independence state. There will be no independence, only autonomy,” said Madani
Madani described the OIC — the consultative international group for Muslim countries — as fully supportive of the BBL, saying the law that would strengthen Bangsamoro autonomy would serve as the “walking legs” of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF.
He said if the Philippine Congress would refuse to pass the BBL, the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF would be “an empty shell.”
He urged Congress not to dilute the BBL because that would effectively void the peace agreement. “BBL should be improved rather than diluted; solidified rather than dismantled.”
Madani said both the Moro National Liberation Front founded by Nur Misuari and the MILF could now participate in one peace process because of the linkage between the agreements under the Tripoli Agreement and those under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Madani urged the Filipino nation to reflect on the consequences of abandoning the peace process. “What if this fails? … The result is more tension, leading to conflict; a feeling of desperation, a dead end,” Madani warned.
The OIC head also warned that a failed peace process would create “an environment for radicalism.”
Madani, however, turned positive at one point, saying he came out of the meeting with President Aquino optimistic that the BBL would be passed during his term.
Ambassador Sayed Al Masry, the special OIC envoy to Manila, asked the Philippine media to project a “more accurate picture” of the peace process.
When asked to comment on the performance of past leaders of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which was called a failed experiment by Aquino, Madani said “leading a military struggle would not necessarily make you a good administrator.” Among those who led the ARMM was Nur Misuari, the MNLF founding chair who signed a peace agreement in 1996 with the Ramos administration paving the way for the setting up of the ARMM.
He, however, sidestepped allegations of corruption against past ARMM leaders, saying he was not in a position to judge who was corrupt or not.
Madani was optimistic that the BBL would institute safeguards on the handling of public funds.
He then returned to a major theme: the BBL would not lead to secession and everybody would become losers should the peace process fail. SFM/AC
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