OIC worried by Congress inaction on Bangsamoro bill
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The powerful Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has expressed concern over the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the present Congress.
Iyad Ameen Madani, secretary general of the OIC, formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference, was worried about the difficulties facing the BBL in the Philippine Congress, the substantial amendments to the BBL, which have led to the drastic modification of provisions that were agreed upon by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in their Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
In a statement on Saturday, Madani said the amendments have restored the national government’s control over many areas and have actually reduced the Bangsamoro government to an entity similar to an ordinary local government unit.
The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was signed by the executive department of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2014. President Aquino described the CAB as a real genuine seal of lasting peace in Mindanao that would usher in a new era of peace after decades of war, displacement, misery and destitution.
Madani said they have been strongly supporting President Aquino in his efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, including the passage of the agreed upon version of the BBL, and called upon all concerned to support these efforts.
“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation urges the Philippine authorities, in particular the lawmakers, who share the common goal at working for peace and stability, not to let this historical moment become another lost opportunity,” Madani said.
He added the OIC, which has been engaged in the peace process in Southern Philippines, has been urging all stakeholders to work hand in hand to ensure that the final BBL would preserve the “concept of exclusivity of the powers of the Bangsamoro political entity” as agreed upon in the CAB.
“We urge the government of Philippines and the lawmakers to ensure that the BBL, which is now pending before the parliament, will not come out different from the original BBL,” he said.
The OIC also urged leaders of both the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the MILF to consolidate their coordination and cooperation through the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF).
On Saturday, the MILF and MNLF held a unification and reconciliation meeting in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao where they agreed to continue pushing for the BBL even in the next administration.
Madani called upon the development agencies of the OIC and other International bodies to continue their rehabilitation and development programs in the region. SFM
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