• Bangsamoro law divisive – MNLF

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    The Moro National Liberation Front has declared that it is not supporting the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), citing the government’s supposed failure to fully implement a peace agreement that it signed with the MNLF on September 2, 1996.

    Besides, MNLF Vice Chairman Jimmy Labawan, officer-in-charge of the MNLF Central Committee, said over the weekend, the BBL is a divide-and rule tactic of the Aquino administration that only creates more serious problems between the Bangsamore people and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    Labawan did not say what such problems are.

    The government and the MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in March this year and the BBL that is supposed to carry it out is pending in Congress.

    In negotiating with then-President Fidel V. Ramos from 1993 to 1996, Nur Misuari, MNLF founder and chairman, insisted on the Tripoli Agreement as anchor of the 1996 peace pact.

    Labawan said a meeting held last November 13 in Makati City (Metro Manila) proposed to the government panel settlement of some issues under the 1996 peace agreement, including territorial boundaries and wealth and resources sharing.

    Also present at the meeting were representatives from the MNLF and the MILF.

    Emmanuel Fontanilla, a lawyer and also the MNLF spokesman, warned in an interview that the BBL will suffer the fate of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the Arroyo administration and the MILF that was eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008.

    The tripartite meeting in Makati City resulted in the signing of a communique by the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum and the creation of the BCF Executive Bureau that will hold office in Cotabato City in Mindanao.

    The executive bureau is composed of three representatives each from the MNLF and MILF and one representative from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

    Labawan said the OIC only recognizes one agreement and that is the 1996 peace agreement with the Misuari-led MNLF.

    According to him, MNLF commanders feel that “brushing aside” this peace pact has deprived them of their “hopes and dreams for genuine autonomy in Mindanao for almost 30 years.”

    Labawan said another “rebellion” over non-implementation of the 1996 peace agreement is not far-fetched but “we are keeping them (commanders) under control for now.”

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