GPH, MILF reach substantial progress on draft Bangsamoro Law

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DAVAO CITY: The peace panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) set August 18 as their deadline for submitting the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to the President.

“The Panels reiterated their commitment to finish an agreed draft Bangsamoro Basic Law by August 18, 2014, in sha Allah, in order to allow the Office of the President to submit the same to Congress as soon as possible,” they announced at the conclusion of their 10-day marathon meeting in this southern capital on Sunday.

In a joint statement, the Parties said that they “reached an agreement on substantial portions of the document, and have developed a shared understanding of the remaining challenges and unsettled issues, which they will bring back to their principals for further guidance.”

Government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer affirmed that aside from consulting their principals, other mechanisms will also be used by the Parties to fast-track the completion of the BBL.


“We have several mechanisms that we can utilize to be able to solve the remaining portions for common languages,” she said.

In their joint statement, the parties reported that they invited experts and organizations to help them hammer out the remaining issues in the draft BBL.

“Discussions took place in plenary as well as in small groups focused on addressing specific issues such as fiscal autonomy and administration of justice. There were also inputs provided by resource persons coming from the Bangsamoro Development Agency, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the Ateneo School of Government on the matter of development planning and budget transfers to the Bangsamoro,” the statement elaborated.

According to Coronel-Ferrer, the August 18 deadline “expresses our common sense of urgency to finish the mutually acceptable draft.”

“It’s also to reassure the honorable members of Congress that, this being an urgent bill, we are not going to make it very difficult for them to undertake their own legislative process,” she said.

Few items remaining

‎According to Coronel-Ferrer, there are “a few remaining items” that need to be settled.

“Certain provisions that cover the Wealth Sharing and Power Sharing Annexes, precisely because they address different elements, we still have to agree on,” she said.

The Annexes on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, Power Sharing, Transitional Modalities and Arrangements, Normalization, and the Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation, along with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, are among the major components that form the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The CAB, which was signed on March 27, is the product of the more than 17 years of negotiations between the government and the MILF. The BBL is the legal instrument that will entrench the Bangsamoro region upon its passage into law and ratification in the envisioned core territory.

MILF satisfied

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator and chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said he is satisfied with the outcome of the 10-day meeting.

“Practically, we have covered the proposed Basic Law from A to Z. We have covered a lot of ground, and we have settled a substantial part of it,” he said.

According to him, the sheer determination of the two sides to harmonize their ideas on the draft bill was essential.

“The parties were determined to overcome obstacles that came our way,” he said.

Both parties are confident that they can complete the draft bill a week from now.

“The only way to go is forward. So when we set a time frame, it means that we will try our best to be able to finish,” Coronel-Ferrer said. AFP

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  1. If that’s the agreement BBL needed for the GPH and the Bangsamoro, it should pass by all the people concern to assure lasting peace. Once approved by the majority and with the concourence of the highest court of the land The Supreme Court of the Philippines then it would be a relief for all in the government and the Filipinos. Everybody could rest in peace. Inshaallah (God Willing) or In God We Trust.