Is the Bangsamoro peace deal collapsing? No way, says Palace
MANILA, Philippines—The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continue to work together to finalize the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, Malacañang said Thursday amid rumors that the coveted peace deal may soon collapse.
“Patuloy na sinisikap ng Philippine at MILF panels na magkasundo sa isang draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. Malinaw naman po ang deklarasyon ng ating chair of the Philippine panel, si Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, na hindi natitinag ang determinasyon ng magkabilang panig na magkaroon ng kasunduan,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing.
(The Philippine and MILF panels are striving to agree on one version of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the Philippine panel chair, clearly declared that both parties remain determined to finalize the agreement.)
Coloma said speculations on the alleged collapse of the peace talks should be avoided.
On Wednesday, Reuters said MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal’s comment on the current draft of the BBL was “the first public indication that the agreement is close to collapse.”
Iqbal was quoted as saying that 70 percent of the 100-page draft was either deleted or amended by the Office of the President’s lawyers.
On April 22, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) submitted the BBL to the Office of the President. It was supposed to be finalized and then submitted to Congress but was stalled because of contentious provisions. The delay prompted the BTC to elevate the issue to the two peace panels.
Currently, the two parties are in the middle of a 10-day meeting to thresh out the problems. Philippine officials said the draft should be finalized and submitted to Congress before the end of the month.
“Hopefully, may sapat na panahon para magkaroon ng plebisito at makapagtalaga ng mga bubuo ng Bangsamoro Transitional Authority,” Coloma said.
(Hopefully there is enough time for a plebiscite and the creation of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority.)
He said the BTA will prepare for a plebiscite, which will define the scope of the Bangsamoro Political Entity.