• Government should invite BIFF to join peace process to end bloodshed – Sen.Pimentel

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    THE recent admission of Malacañang about the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) being a constant threat in the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF) is an indication that the government must come up with a new approach aside from the military options.

    Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, said that the best alternative to ensure the success of the newly-signed peace agreement is stop the fighting between the military and moro fighters by looking for ways for the BIFF and the MILF to join the peace process to establish unity.

    Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, lamented the fact that even as the peace agreement was being signed in Kuala Lumpur, shooting had erupted between factions of the Muslim secessionist groups and the government forces.

    The senator has called on the BIFF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to support the peace pact brokered by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    Thousands of civilians were displaced by the weeklong war and several fighters from both sides were killed in the skirmishes, and these happened days after the Philippines drew praises from the international community because of the peace deal.

    As for the government, Pimentel raised the need to revisit the previous agreement with the MNLF that led to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) so that all sectors are given a chance to air their side.

    The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the body tasked to draft the organic law, must take initiatives to reach out to the different groups in Muslim Mindanao to get their views in crafting the proposed political entity in order to be transparent in its work.

    Pimentel also assured that Congress will scrutinize the draft organic act based on the six documents and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, assuring the public that the new law will be crafted under the terms of the Constitution.

    The six documents include that framework agreement, the four annexes including annex on decommissioning of arms; the addendum on wealth sharing.

    Malacañang on Monday admitted that it considers the BIFF as a dangerous group and continuous to be a threat to peace and order in Mindanao,

    The BIFF is led by a former Commander of the MILF Ameril Umbra Kato and is reportedly decided to join forces with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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