Monday, June 2, 2014

Bangsamoro law not being watered down, Palace assures MILF

From GMA News (Jun 2): Bangsamoro law not being watered down, Palace assures MILF

MalacaƱang on Monday assured the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that it will not release a watered-down version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, a piece of legislation aimed at ending the decades-old armed conflict in Mindanao.

“We can assure Chair Iqbal that the Bangsamoro Basic bill will reflect the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its annexes,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing.

MILF chief negotiator Mohaquer Iqbal was earlier quoted in news reports as saying that he is worried the government is going to water down the draft bill and delay its release.

Lacierda, however, said they have not yet released the draft as they are still studying it.

“We are here to review that it complies with the provisions of the CAB,” he said, referring to the  Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

“We are also making sure that this will stand judicial scrutiny. So, in both cases, we want to make sure that... to a large extent, we want to make sure that when it goes to Congress, it will be as smooth as possible,” he added.

Lacierda also assured the MILF that after they submit the BBL to Congress, President Benigno Aquino III will certify it as urgent.

The BBL will formalize the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Its draft, which was crafted by the 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission, was based on the CAB signed late March.

Once approved by Congress, the BBL will be put through a plebiscite involving Mindanao provinces that want to be part of the new Bangsamoro political entity.

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