Friday, August 23

Peace negotiators urge Artlets to support BBL

Government's Peace Panel Chairman Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer discusses the Bangsamoro Basic Law as the key to end conflict in the Southern Philippines.
Government’s Peace Panel Chairman Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer discusses the Bangsamoro Basic Law as the key to end the conflict in Southern Philippines. photo by Janine C. Perea

The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is the key to end conflict in Mindanao, said peace negotiators from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) yesterday in a forum titled “Usaping Bangsamoro sa Administrasyong Aquino” held at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Auditorium.

Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairman of the government’s panel and Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, a member of the MILF panel, urged Artlets to support the BBL.

“A historical problem that has divided our country led to so many wars, so many deaths, [and] lost opportunities. That is why we urge you to [please] support this para naman tumakbo na ang kasaysayan natin [at] maayos na natin ang isang problema,” Coronel-Ferrer said.

Coronel-Ferrer added that the promulgation of the BBL would be the beginning of achieving peace in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, making it one of the priority bills of President Benigno Aquino III.

While he believes it is the government’s responsibility to deal with the conflict in Muslim Mindanao, Lingga nevertheless commended Aquino for forging the Bangsamoro agreement.

“From the view of an outsider of the government, I have observed that the President has shown a strong political will. I can say that he is a president that knows the problem,” said the executive director of a Bangsamoro studies center in Cotabato.

However, Coronel-Ferrer admitted that BBL is not perfect and the peace process was just the beginning. “There is no peace agreement that will guarantee a hundred percent effectivity and is the assured solution to end the conflicts with the MILF.”

“The BBL is a product of compromises. There is a balance on both sides… Pero hindi lahat pare-parehong makukuha ang gusto. Hindi ito perfect. Others will see it less but it’s workable and viable,” she added.

Moreover, had the Mamasapano incident which took the lives of 44 Special Action Force commandos not happened, the BBL would have advanced in the Congress, the government panel’s head said, adding that by 2016 an election for the Bangsamoro would have taken place.

Although the peace process began in 1997, the issue on BBL started when the Framework of Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) was signed by the Aquino administration and the MILF on Oct. 15, 2012.

Rounds of peace talks were conducted after the signing of the FAB. Last March 27, 2014, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro or the document representing the final peace agreement between the government and the MILF was also signed.

The forum was the first of the “PNoy Aquino Administration Lecture Series” organized by the Department of Political Science and the Political Science Forum. F KRYSTAL GAYLE R. DIGAY

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