• Govt peace panel chief vows ‘good draft BBL’

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    Amid an apparent delay, the chief government negotiator in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday assured Congress that her group will submit a “good” draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a piece of legislation aimed at ending the decades-old armed conflict in southern Mindanao.

    In a statement, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer apologized to Congress for not being able to submit the draft law on time.

    She, however, noted that both parties are finding “good solutions” to contentious issues in the proposed law.

    “I guarantee that we will have a good draft BBL and we commit to work with Congress in any way the legislators see fit,” Ferrer said.

    “We call on the public to keep the faith and to join our collective effort for peace and development in Mindanao,” she added.

    Malacañang earlier committed to submit the draft BBL to Congress before sessions resume on Monday in time for the President’s State of the Nation Address and to enact the law before year-end.

    According to Ferrer, both parties have achieved “good progress” over the weekend on issues in the draft law.

    “We met over the weekend and made progress on two important articles pertaining to fiscal autonomy and the structure of the Bangsamoro government,” she said without elaborating what this “progress” was.

    Ferrer noted that both panels “took to heart the request of President Benigno Aquino 3rd during a meeting with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to work together and bridge differences in the draft law.”

    The President met with the BTC on July 24 and affirmed that he will push for the enactment of the BBL in Congress.

    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 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed late March this year.

    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.

    Meanwhile, Ferrer said the government and the MILF peace panels will observe a break in observance of Eid’l Fitr, but will reconvene after the Muslim holiday.

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