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KL not giving up on Mindanao peace

/ 12:10 AM February 10, 2016

BULUAN, Maguindanao—Kuala Lumpur is not about to give up in its effort to broker peace in Mindanao even with the death of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress, a Malaysian diplomat said here.

Speaking at the opening of the 5th Maguindanao Sagayan Festival here on Monday, Abdullah Zawawi Tahir, the Malaysian consul general based in Davao City, also urged Muslim Filipinos not to take the nonpassage of the draft BBL under the Aquino administration negatively, saying genuine peace was bound to reign in Mindanao if it’s the people’s common goal.

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Tahir said for genuine peace to be achieved, there should be continuing work and that setbacks should not be viewed negatively.

“We should not look at it negatively because this is not an overnight work. We need everyone to join and help in searching for peace,” he said.

Uncertain

Tahir admitted that what’s going to happen next was uncertain but added that Kuala Lumpur would continue to support the efforts of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in search for a long-lasting peace in Mindanao.

Malaysia, a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, facilitated the 17-year peace talks between the government and the MILF which resulted in the crafting of the BBL.

Tahir said instead of feeling negative over the failure of the BBL to pass in Congress, Muslim Filipinos should look at the positive things that were achieved in the course of the peace process.

He cited the absence of serious clashes and the pouring in of development projects and programs to Mindanao.

Malaysia also heads the International Monitoring Team which monitors the implementation of the ceasefire between the government and the MILF.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal earlier said the MILF was committed to peace despite the failure of Congress to enact the proposed BBL into law.

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No decommissioning

But he said the MILF had suspended its decommissioning process.

“There will be no decommissioning of guns to happen until the issue of the BBL is resolved,” Iqbal told the Inquirer by phone.

Last year, the MILF turned over 75 firearms to the government as part of its obligation to the decommissioning stage of the peace process as prescribed by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The second phase of the decommissioning process will involve 30 percent of MILF forces and firearms.

But Iqbal pointed out that under the agreement, the second phase of the decommissioning process could only take place after the passage of the BBL.

The next round of decommissioning will take place only if Congress approves the original version of the draft BBL, he said. Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: 5th Maguindanao Sagayan Festival, Abdullah Zawawi Tahir, Bangsamoro basic law, Features, Global Nation
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