DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The negotiations have taken a “painstakingly slow” process, but the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said it will continue to press on government to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law which it believes is the key to solve the problem of insurgency in Mindanao.
“If we make an honest assessment of the political and normalization tracks in the CAB, including the development on both tracks are painstakingly slow. As a matter of fact other components are not moving at all,” MILF chief negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal said during a media forum on Wednesday, March 29. to commemorate the third anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Iqbal stressed that the passage of the BBL is of “national interest.”
“That is national interest. Solving the problem of Mindanao is solving the problem of this country,” he said.
Signed on March 27, 2014, CAB is the negotiated political settlement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF that served as the basis for the drafting of the proposed BBL. The BBL will pave the way for the creation of the political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Iqbal said there were frustration among the Bangsamoro over the non-passage of the BBL last year. However, he said they still hope the BBL will be passed this year .
“I would say that frustration may have remained, but hope is also being rekindled in the first of so many things waiting to be realized on any implementation, hope is one thing we cannot afford to lose,” he said.
Ghazali Jaafar, first vice chairman of the MILF and the chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission said they will exhaust all peaceful means on the issue. However, he said that only the passage of a basic law that will give the Bangsamoro their own government would appease the tension on the ground.
“The best way to resolve the Bangsamoro issue is by negotiation because this is the most peaceful way and civilized way. Pero kung wala nang hihintayin ang Bangsamoro sa civilized way na ito, peaceful means na ito, anong gagawin po ninyo.. if you are in our shoes? Can you resist listening to your people?” he said.
Jaafar added the MILF remains a revolutionary organization of the Bangsamoro.
“Baka akala ng marami eh satisfied na ang MILF sa ganitong nangyayari, in fact probably this is one of the reasons why hindi pinasa yung BBL sa Congress. ‘Ayaw na makipag-gyera ng MILF, matanda na sila Brother Ghadzali, Murad and IQ (Iqbal)’.” he said.
(Maybe many believe that the MILF has been satisfied already. in fact, this may be the resons why the BBL was not enacted in Congress, that the MILF will not wage war anymore, that Ghazali,. Murad and Iqbal are all old.”
“The MILF does not intend to give away its guns until the Bangsamoro issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the greater majority of the people,” he said.
He added the MILF is not satisfied with what is happening.
“Huwag ninyong isipin,with due respect po sa inyo, na happy ang mga Moro (Don’t ever think, with due respect to you, that the Moro are already happy.). No, they are not happy,” he said.
Jaafar added that tractors, farm inputs donated to the Moro people would not satisfy them. He said the Moro people will only be truly happy if the real Bangsamoro government is in place.
Honor all signed agreements
Atty. Nabil Tan, undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said the government is guided by the mandate from President Rodrigo Duterte to “honor all signed agreements with all rebel groups.”
Tan said they hope the BTC, the group tasked to draft the BBL “can wrap up their work as they have just started.”
The 21-member BTC is expected to submit a draft of the BBL to Congress by June this year and give time for President Rodrigo Duterte to study it before his State of the Nation Address on July 24. (davaotoday.com)