KIDAPAWAN CITY: Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has expressed her support for the Mindanao peace process as she called on North Cotabato residents not to lose hope in the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“Hindi pweding mawalan ng pagasa [let us not loss hope (on BBL)],” Robredo said during the celebration of the Kalivungan Festival marking the 101st founding anniversary of North Cotabato this week.
Robredo said she was also disappointed in the “slow progress” in the measure at the House due to “lack of quorum.”
The lady solon, who voted “yes” for the passage of the proposed law, said critics should not use the issue merely to attract voters. Instead, she said legislators should focus on the proposal’s core issues particularly to attain peace in Mindanao.
“If we voted down the BBL, it’s just like we emptied the space for the decades-long peace talks in Mindanao,” she said, assuring her continued support for the BBL either in the current administration or the next.
Residents and officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had credited Robredo’s husband, the late former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, for his participation in efforts that led to the signing of the peace agreements between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Robredo said the country’s legislators push the peace process to “move” forward and avoid becoming part of adverse consequences in a stunted or watered down BBL.
Meanwhile, people in Lanao del Sur, one of the component areas of ARMM, were dissatisfied in the development of the BBL particularly with the version of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Thousands of Muslim residents staged a mass rally on Monday in Marawi City vowing to reject the “watered down” BBL.
“BBL is not dead. It is alive in the hearts and minds of the Bangsamoro,” said Drieza Liningding, head of the Bangsamoro for Peace and Development.
He said “it is not the substitute bill written by Senator Bongbong Marcos or the bill passed by the House ad hoc committee.”
During the rally, the participants of the rally threatened to issue a Fatwah or Islamic ruling against Marcos for writing a substitute bill that they described as “unacceptable” to the Bangsamoro people.