With BBL dead, Palace to pursue peace process
Even with Congress sounding the death knell on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Malacañang on Friday said the Aquino administration would still forge ahead with the peace process.
Whatever the final fate of the proposed BBL, government was determined to support the peace process and encourage all stakeholders to give peace a chance,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
The BBL was a centerpiece program of the Aquino administration.
Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. separately said on Thursday it was “unlikely” that the draft measure would be passed by next week.
With the election campaign heating up, the House of Representatives has grappled with a lack of quorum while the Senate has yet to tackle a substitute bill on Bangsamoro autonomy filed by opposition Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Asked how the Aquino administration could still move ahead with the peace process, chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer told the Inquirer in a text message that adjustments on the timetable set by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro could be done.
Ferrer also said that the next administration, which will take over on June 30, can also either unilaterally abrogate the agreement or renegotiate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Inquirer tried by failed to reach MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
As to the possibility that MILF rebels might show disappointment by resuming their secessionist war, Ferrer emphasized the need for strengthening the ceasefire mechanisms.
“We’ll have to help them stay the course and keep their ranks in check. We’ll need to keep our ceasefire and Ahjag (Ad Hoc Joint Action Group) mechanisms strong and effective, and continue with the other normalization programs,” Ferrer said.
Dialogue with stakeholders will continue, Coloma added, “because it is for everyone’s sake that the Aquino administration pursued the peace process.”
“We also recall that President Aquino had already said that even if the peace process will not be fully completed now, he believes that it can be continued because the momentum for peace is difficult to stop. We have the support of many nations, which have participated in our peace process. They will be told of the importance of continuing with the peace process,” Coloma said.
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