Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal will pay a courtesy call on all 21 senators to convince them to vote in favor of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Iqbal, the chairman of the MILF peace panel, bared his plan to woo lawmakers ahead of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s last State of the Nation Address.
“We, I mean myself and my counterpart, have written all the senators. When Congress resumes session, we are going to talk to them individually. If you look at the signs [in the Senate], there are problems. But we still have the time,” Iqbal told reporters.
He was referring to Miriam Coronel Ferrer, the chairman of the government peace panel.
“The progress [in both Houses]should be simultaneous. If the House passes the BBL and the Senate does not, then the law won’t be passed. We are focused in doing everything possible that it will pass during this administration,” Iqbal said.
“There is no other way to do it except to pass the BBL. It has been long overdue and this should be the time to do it because the two agreements—FAB and CAB—were signed during the time of President Aquino and then the BBL was drafted during his time,” Iqbal said, referring to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
“It would be natural that this President will see to it that it will pass. We’ll never give up. We will never say die. We’ll go forward,” Iqbal added.
The measure seeks to establish an autonomous Bangsamoro region that will be governed by the Bangsamoro Parliament. The Bangsamoro region will receive an annual block grant which is 2.4 percent of the national tax collection, a Special Development Fund worth P17 billion (P7 billion initially and P2 billion for the next five years) and a P1 billion transition fund for the infrastructure construction and rehabilitation.