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Misinformation to blame for BBL delay–Ferrer

THE DELAY in the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is partly due to misinformation circulated by some “political opponents” of the Aquino administration immediately after the Mamasapano bloody clash in January, according to the government’s chief peace negotiator.

Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on Thursday said that after the Mamasapano tragedy, where 44 police commandos were among those killed in a firefight with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other Muslim fighters, the same politicians used the BBL in attempting to derail the peace process. She did not name the politicians she was referring to.

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“Some politicians continue to use this as a platform to bolster their 2016 election campaigns,” she said.

In a statement, Ferrer also debunked anti-BBL claims by some unnamed administration critics as “simply ridiculous.”

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“These include conspiracy theories that the BBL caters to Malaysia’s vested interests in Mindanao, particularly the Sabah claim, and that the proposed law will lead to secession by the MILF,” she said.

“The main aim of the peace talks (between the government and the MILF) is to stop the war and institute the needed reforms in order to achieve national unity,” she said.

She said that while other groups continue to use discriminate acts of violence, the MILF has committed to observe the ceasefire and undergo the decommissioning of weapons and combatants.

Ferrer also stressed that there is nothing unconstitutional in the BBL, noting that “the key features and structural changes in the draft law are all within the flexibilities of the Constitution.”

She said the BBL also upholds and protects the rights and welfare of all inhabitants of the prospective Bangsamoro even as she emphasized the support and participation of every Filipino on the success of the peace process.

“The BBL is for all of us. The people want the peace process to be 100 percent risk-free, but part of it is a leap of faith out of good intentions,” she said.

Ferrer also said the passage of the BBL will correct the structural problems within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and in effect alleviate the problems of the next President.

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For his part, MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the delay in the BBL passage can also be blamed on the same old misperceptions and prejudices against Muslims.

Some legislators, he claimed, want to revise the BBL because of fears and prejudices, not only because of the Mamasapano tragedy but also about “the feat of giving the Bangsamoro a lot of authority if given power and autonomy.”

“Mistrust, biases and paranoia against Muslims or Moros have created much opinion on the Christian majority, including the so-called intelligentsia, Church people and media networks, among others. These biases are at the heart of the rejection of the BBL,” he said.

“The only lasting legacy the President can give to our people, especially those in Mindanao, is lasting peace through the passage of the BBL… Every one of us can help because the passage of the BBL is of national interest,” Iqbal said.

“We never say die in lobbying for the passage of the BBL,” he said. “Congress can do it.”

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Basic Law, Mamasapano clash, MILF, Nation, news, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer
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