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Palace overhauls draft of Bangsamoro basic law

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 06:21 PM July 05, 2014

Mohagher Iqbal, chief MILF negotiator, and Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, head of the government negotiating panel, exchange copies of the peace agreement between the MILF and the Aquino administration they signed in Malacañang on March 27, 2014. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang has returned the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law with so many comments and revisions that practically nothing has been left unchanged in the original document that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission submitted to President Benigno Aquino, a source told the Inquirer Saturday.

The source said the Bangsamoro Basic Law was practically “mangled” by the revisions proposed by the Office of the President.

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The source is privy to the talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but has not been authorized to discuss developments with the media.

The source said the comments and revisions, which comprised a thick pile of paper, reportedly veer away from the four annexes that are the heart and soul of the two parties’ peace agreement.

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Sought for comment, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal confirmed that the Palace has returned the draft after its review, with a thick pile of comments.

However, Iqbal told the Inquirer in a text message that “we don’t discuss the content.”

Iqbal also chairs the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

Despite Malacañang’s review of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Iqbal said the situation was “not hopeless.”

The Inquirer tried but failed to reach government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law, if approved by Congress, would pave the way for the establishment of a Bangsamoro autonomous region to be led by the Moro people.

The delay in the transmittal of the draft law to Congress prompted another closed-door meeting between President Aquino and MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim in Hiroshima, Japan, last week. The President had earlier said he would certify the bill as urgent.

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After the meeting, President Aquino vowed there would be a Bangsamoro autonomous region before he steps down in June 2016.

The Palace is expected to transmit the draft law to Congress when it opens after President Aquino delivers his State of the Nation Address later this month.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, Bangsamoro Basic Law, MILF, Mindanao peace process, Moro Islamic Liberation Front
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