Peace panels in KL to revive pact
Peace negotiators from the government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Wednesday began a two-day special meeting in Kuala Lumpur, following the failure of Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, the key measure needed to implement the peace agreement that the Aquino government signed with the rebels in 2014.
Government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said last week that the two panels would meet as soon as the “emotions” over the nonpassage of the BBL had settled.
In his opening statement at the meeting, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal asked the Aquino government to remain committed to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and implement it without changes.
“The most immediate step is either the BBL will be refiled 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,” Iqbal said in his statement, a copy of which was sent to the Inquirer.
Iqbal stressed the need for government and the MILF to continue working together, assuring yet again that the MILF “will adhere to the CAB and comply with its obligations.”
But he said there was “widespread frustration on the ground by our people and members of the MILF” as result of the failure of Congress to pass the BBL.
He said 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.”
“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 the government,” Iqbal said.
The proposed BBL sought to create a new, wider autonomous Muslim region that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that was created following the signing of a peace agreement in 1996 between the government and the main Muslim insurgency, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
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