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Peace panel head renews call for BBL passage to counter extremism

/ 01:21 PM January 18, 2016
Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The Philippine government’s peace panel head on Monday reminded lawmakers that the passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will help counter extremism threats.

Peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said this days after suicide bombers attacked a coffee shop in Jakarta, which left eight people killed, including the perpetrators. The group was allegedly linked to the notorious terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).

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READ: At least 7 killed as suicide bombers attack Starbucks in Jakarta

“The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the draft Bangsamoro law are social justice measures, but from the global security perspective, these are also a containment measure against jihadist extremism,” Ferrer said in a statement.

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With Congress resuming session on Monday, Ferrer said the lawmakers should consider the joint peace panels’ open letter last November 26 after the Paris attacks.

READ: BBL to stop extremism, say peace negotiators

Ferrer said the passage of the BBL, a product of the government’s peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the creation of a Bangsamoro political entity would empower stakeholders and help stop armed conflict in Mindanao.

The open letter released last year, signed by Ferrer and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, quoted National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia when he attended a committee hearing on the proposed bill.

Garcia reportedly said that the BBL will help “[curb] the spread of extremism in Mindanao.”

“In particular, the Bangsamoro government would be able to help moderate Islamic leaders to counter the ideology of radicalism being promoted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and steer the Muslim community away from ISIS influence,” he was quoted saying.

Garcia pointed out that peace between government and MILF would also “free up a significant component of the Armed Forces of the Philippines… to shift resources to focus on external concerns, principally the protection of our external territorial integrity and maritime domain which is now being threatened.”

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Earlier reports said there are now armed groups in the Philippines that are linked to Isis but government authorities said the groups are working on their own and that there is no credible threat from Isis.

READ: Aquino downplays ISIS threat in PH

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL, Extremism, Islam, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Peace agreement, peace process, Terrorism
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