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Duterte can’t just scrap BBL, says MILF

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 02:46 AM May 20, 2016

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday said the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) cannot be unilaterally set aside by the government as the incoming Duterte administration pushes for a federal system of government.

“It will not happen,” MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told the Inquirer by phone, referring to the statement of newly elected Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez that the peace process with the Moro rebels would go back to square one.

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“We will continue to insist on the implementation of the peace process,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal said it was important to clarify if Alvarez made a “personal point of view” when he claimed that the peace talks with the Moro rebels would be back to square one under presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte or if this was really the incoming administration’s policy.

Alvarez is poised to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“My first question is, is this an official policy of the Duterte administration or his personal point of view because if it’s his personal opinion, it won’t hold any significance,” Iqbal said.

He said the Philippine government and the MILF signed in 2010 the Declaration of Continuity for Peace Negotiation, which cannot be abrogated.

Ironically, a day before Alvarez made the announcement, the MILF published on its website an appeal to the incoming administration to honor the declaration.

In a statement on their official website, luwaran.com, the MILF said the essence of the declaration is that “where the parties stopped, as consequence of major obstacles like all-out war or shortness of time of the administration in power like that of President Fidel V. Ramos, they will continue and start from they stopped or forced to discontinue.”

“Government cannot just set this aside. It is an obligation by both parties because it was an agreement we both signed,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal reminded the incoming administration that negotiations between the MILF and the government have been completed and both parties have already signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

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The CAB is the essentially the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has also completed its tripartite review of its peace accord with the government.

“There are no more negotiations to speak of but the peace process is ongoing,” Iqbal said.

The 15th Congress was unable to pass the proposed BBL, which would have created a new Bangsamoro autonomous region as a compromise to the full independence the MILF has fought for decades.

The Mamasapano debacle in January last year threw a monkey wrench on the otherwise smooth sailing peace process between the MILF and the Aquino administration, with members of both houses of Congress casting doubt on the sincerity of the Moro rebels.

One of the leading dissenting voices to the proposed BBL is Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, running mate of Duterte. Cayetano has been promised a Cabinet position in the Duterte administration following a yearlong ban for losing candidates to be appointed in government posts.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Basic Law, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Nation, news, Rodrigo Duterte
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