From the Manila Bulletin (Feb 2): Invite BIFF, MNLF to consultations, Biazon urges Transition Commission
The chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security proposed yesterday the suspension of warrants of arrests against representatives of “peace spoilers,” including the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to allow them to join the Mindanao peace process.
Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon said it would be better if all stakeholders were consulted and that the Transition Commission invites the BIFF and the group of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari to join the peace process.
“Isama na nila ang lahat ng dapat nilang isama. Kung sa MNLF mayroon silang kinatawan na walang warrant of arrest. Alam mo kung sila ay papayag, ipo-propose ko na isuspinde muna ang implementasyon ng kanilang warrant of arrest para makapag participate sila sa kunsultasyon,” he said.
“Pero ang suspensiyon ng warrant of arrest nila ay dapat doon lang sa panahon na habang sila ay nasa kunsultasyon,” he said.
The Transition Commission is reaching out to concerned stakeholders as it begins to draft the Bangsamoro Basic law following the signing of the final annex of the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Biazon recalled that he made the similar proposal in 1992 when the Ramos Administration was forging peace deals with the rebel military officers of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and the MNLF.
“Pumayag si President Ramos kaya nga nagkaroon ng peace process noon with the RAM, with the CPP-NPA even doon sa MNLF. Pero yong suspensiyon ay habang sila ay nakikibahagi sa peace process. Yan din palagay ko ay pwede i-offer kahit sa BIFF or sa MNLF Misuari faction,” he said.
Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chairperson of the government panel negotiating with the MILF, earlier asked the BIFF to agree to a dialogue to ventilate its goals and objectives.
Biazon said that while the offer has yet to be extended, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) must continue its offensive against the BIFF, the breakaway Muslim rebel group.
“Kung may offer ang gobyerno at tinanggap nila, pwedeng suspended muna ang operations. Pero hanggang wala pa yan, aba ay kailangang kumilos ang Armed Forces at tapusin na,” he said.
“Tuloy yong operasyon. Then you publicly offer it. Pag tinanggap nila, fine. Pag hindi nila tinanggap yan, aba hindi na nila masisisi ang gobyerno to enforce the law of the land,” he said.
The clashes broke out a day after Manila’s signing of the final annex of the peace agreement with the MILF.
Biazon said with the reported tactical alliance between the BIFF and Misuari’s group, the AFP should reconsider deploying more troops to crush the Muslim rebel groups.
He also expressed the House’s readiness to study the constitutional, legal and moral issues surrounding the eventual enactment of the basic law, including the possible amendments to the 1987 Constitution and the proposed Independent Islamic State.
He disclosed that he would be meeting with Coronel-Ferrer to “engage her in some discussions” about the proposed law.
He said Congress will hear all the concerns of various parties, including legal luminaries and even provincial governors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).