MILF insists on BBL

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page - (Mindanao Examiner)

DAVAO CITY – The seclided leader of the Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Murad Ebrahim, has stood firm on the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and urged President Rodrigo Duterte to implement this. Ebrahim and Duterte held talks recently in Davao City and the BBL was discussed. Ebrahim was accompanied by his political deputy Ghazali Jaafar when they met with Duterte at a restaurant. A senior member of a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front, Abul Khayr Alonto, also arrived separately and met with Duterte and Ebrahim’s group.

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Details of the talks were not made available by the MILF or anybody from Duterte’s group, but other sources said the meeting also centered on the issues of the Muslims in Mindanao and the shift to federal form of government as being proposed by the elected president.

The MILF, which signed an interim peace deal with the Aquino government in 2014, has previously insisted the new government the passage of the shelved Bangsamoro Basic Law to appease the Muslims in Mindanao.

Ebrahim said they are confident with Duterte that the “peace process will not be relegated in status, as it has proven to be potentially the most viable solution to address conflict arising from historical injustices committed against our people.”

He said the MILF remains committed in its continued pursuit to find long-lasting peace and development in Mindanao. Ebrahim said the BBL could be a possible template for federalism.

During Duterte’s political campaign, he said “nothing can appease the Bangsamoro until the BBL is passed.”

The MILF has pledged to exert efforts in undertaking its obligations to fully implement the commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“The MILF maintains its position that the CABbased Bangsamoro Basic Law needs to be immediately passed into law, not only because it effectively addresses the peculiarities unique to the Bangsamoro that are not necessarily found in other prospective federal states,” Ebrahim said.

Congress failed to pass the BBL after politicians opposed to the draft law said many of its provisions were unconstitutional.

Duterte’s political allies in Congress are said to be preparing – after he takes his formal oath of office in June 30 – to move for amendments in the Constitution that would pave the way for the shift to federalism where Muslims can exercise their own Sharia laws.

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