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MILF rejects watered-down BBL, believes Congress is running out of time for bill

/ 07:33 PM December 30, 2015

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would rather sound upbeat on the passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law but has admitted Congress is running out of time to do it.

Murad Ebrahim, MILF chair, said during the recently concluded 3rd Annual Assembly of the Bangsamoro Communication Network here that “if BBL will not make it by February, it would be impossible for the bill’s passage in the next months.”

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He cited the election campaign season, which would certainly prevent a quorum in both houses of Congress.

Congress will resume sessions on Jan. 18, 2016 and with this, Ebrahim said lawmakers would only have about six weeks to decide the fate of the BBL.

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Besides, MILF still prefers the original BBL draft and not the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), which waters down some provisions from the BBL, according to Ebrahim.

“We will only accept the original version,” he said, adding that any version outside of the original proposed law would not make the future Bangsamoro government any different from the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) shared Ebrahim’s view and warned that tinkering so much with the proposed law would reduce the future Bangsamoro government into an ordinary local government unit.

“The OIC, which has been engaged with the peace process in Southern Philippines since its inception, calls upon all concerned to work hand in hand to ensure that the final BBL will ensure the ‘concept of exclusivity of the powers of the Bangsamoro political entity’ as agreed upon in the CAB. We urge the government of Philippines and the law makers to ensure that the BBL, which is now pending before the parliament, will not come out different from the original BBL,” Iyad Ameen Madani said in a statement issued on December 17.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he was “confident that the Senate would do its best to pass the proposed measure within the remaining session days of Congress ‎after considering all the amendments introduced by the Senators.”

Representative Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee on the BBL, also said Congress might be able to pass the BBL upon the resumption of the Congress session in January.  SFM

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TAGS: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Bangsamoro autonomous region, Bangsamoro autonomy, Bangsmaoro Basic Law, BBL, BLBAR, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, congressmen, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., House adhoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, House of Representatives, Iyad Ameen Madani, lawmakers, Legislation, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Murad Ebrahim, news, OIC, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Peace agreement, peace negotiation, peace process, Philippine Congress, Philippine Government, Regions, Rufus Rodriguez, Senate, senators
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