Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal explains the history of the continuing Moro struggle during the Media Roundtable Discussion on Bangsamoro Basic Law, Thursday. (Ace R. Morandante/

In this file photo, Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal explains the history of the continuing Moro struggle during a media round table discussion on Bangsamoro Basic Law. ( file photo)

DAVAO CITY,  Philippines — Despite the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress early this year, Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal said they still trust the lawmakers. But he appealed to Congress not to fail the Bangsamoro people and called on government officials to fast track the BBL.

“As I have consistently stated and I have reiterated that we in the MILF trust the collective wisdom of Congress in passing the BBL. We still hold the trust, please do not fail us, the Bangsamoro and those who wish to have genuine peace among us, especially in Mindanao,” said Iqbal during his speech in Malacañan prior to signing the Executive Order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission on Monday, Nov. 7.

The 21-member BTC is tasked to draft a BBL that will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte and then to Congress.

The first EO creating the BTC was signed on December 17, 2012.  Iqbal recalled that their optimism, then “was so high”.

“We thought and anxiously anticipated that before the 16th Congress would adjourn, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law would become a law. But it did not make it to the second reading in the House of Representatives,” he said.

But the signing of the EO by President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday has “rekindled” their hope for the passage of the BBL.

“When that happens, Inshallah, we would be witnessing the resolution of the more than four decades of  conflict in Mindanao during the term of his excellency President Duterte, a fellow Mindanaoan with Moro ancestry,” he said.

Duterte is the 16th President of the country and the first to come from Mindanao. Duterte also claims to have Maranao blood, a reason which prodded him to run as President saying nobody was talking about Mindanao.

Iqbal said that the passage of a BBL that will establish the Bangsamoro government is “a national interest”.

He said its passage will end the “longest running conflict in the world”. He also said the MILF remains committed to the peace process.

Unity of all Moro groups

A unity of all Moro groups to come up with a new BBL is also needed to establish genuine autonomy for the Moro people said Iqbal.

Iqbal called on all Moro groups to “work together to come up with a BBL that would establish a real and genuine autonomy for the Bangsamoro people, which is faithful to the March 27 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and enhance and improve other agreements or any Solomonic ideas or wisdom.”

Iqbal also called on Moro groups to set aside “our selfish, parochial, tribal and all organizational interest,” to push for the interest of the whole Bangsamoro.

He also appealed to the Filipinos to support the Bangsamoro peace process.

“Just give the Bangsamoro a chance to truly govern themselves in the genuine autonomous manner setup in the signed agreement and we would work very hard for peace and development because that is what everyone wants to achieve,” he said. (

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