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MILF: Rebels are ‘sick, tired’ of war

Solon says fate of BBL is best left for next administration to decide
01:10 AM December 19, 2015

KORONADAL CITY—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is “sick and tired” of war and is not likely to revive the violent struggle to attain self-rule for the Moro people, according to the guerrilla group’s chief peace negotiator.

The MILF statement, made by Mohagher Iqbal, came as legislators have all but given up on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the heart of a peace agreement between the Aquino administration and the MILF, which seeks to create a new autonomous region that would give more powers and a bigger degree of self-rule to the Moro people.

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According to one member of the House, Rep. Win Gatchalian (Valenzuela, Nationalist People’s Coalition), the fate of BBL is best left for the next administration to decide.

“The next administration might have a different view about the BBL, which hangs in the balance up to now,” said Gatchalian, a senatorial candidate, in a statement.

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“It is in this light that the BBL should be left for the next administration to decide for continuity,” he added.

Unlike the MILF, which keeps its optimism over BBL, Gatchalian said he doubts the proposed law can be passed in January, owing to the “lack of material time.”

“We have barely five months to go before the May 9 elections and this will definitely have a bearing on the enthusiasm of lawmakers in approving the BBL before Congress goes on recess in February,” he added.

“From where I stand, it would be best to let the next administration decide on the fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. I believe that this is the politically correct thing to do,” Gatchalian said.

Iqbal said MILF would continue to cling to peace even if BBL fails to pass Congress.

“War is not an option. We are sick and tired of engaging the government in fire fight,” Iqbal said in a phone interview.

Iqbal said the option for MILF is to continue negotiating with the government for the passage of the proposed law, which he described as the “only vehicle to attain long lasting peace in Mindanao.”

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Earlier, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chair of the Senate local government committee, said he considers BBL to be dead although Senate President Franklin Drilon gave assurances it would pass in the Senate in January.

Sessions for both chambers of Congress will resume on Jan. 18.

Iqbal said the failure of the proposed law to pass Congress before lawmakers take a break for the Yuletide season did not mean it was already dead.

“The MILF is 100 percent optimistic that BBL will become a law. We need to go to the usual process but we are hopeful for the best,” he said.

Iqbal said the MILF is open to amendments “because we know we cannot get the 100 percent support of lawmakers” on some of BBL’s provisions. Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Administration, Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL, MILF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, rebels, Rep. Win Gatchalian, sick, solon, tired, War
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