For the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the creation of a new autonomous government would be enough to curtail radicalization in Mindanao.
In an interview, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal expressed belief that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would curb the growth of extremism in the South.
“I think this is the main antidote to whatever radicalization [there is]in Mindanao,” Iqbal told reporters on Wednesday after President Benigno Aquino 3rd turned over the draft BBL to Congress.
His statement came amid reports that Filipinos in Mindanao are being recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group. The ISIS made headlines recently for beheading its prisoners, including two American journalists.
Iqbal, who also heads the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), dismissed insinuations that MILF fighters are growing restless over the slow pace of the peace process.
“The reality is nothing [has]happened [between the MILF and the government]since we started negotiating until the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. So, I don’t believe there is growing radicalization,” he said.
“Of course, people can also imagine the situation and sometimes individually they will be frustrated to a certain extent but not to the extent that they will create a problem,” Iqbal added.
He expressed belief that Congress would be able to come up with a “good legislation to form the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
While he admitted that negotiations with the government peace panel had been difficult, they are happy with the result.
“We have done everything and this is the only thing that we can get. Of course, in negotiations, you cannot get all what you want. Neither the other side can get what it wants. It is a compromise. The fact that we have the Bangsamoro Basic Law, we are happy,” Iqbal said.