MILF believes draft BBL will survive Congress

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COTABATO CITY: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator on Monday said he is optimistic the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will survive Congress.

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“I am convinced the draft BBL will be passed by Congress,” Mohaqher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator, told Church-run DXMS Radyo Bida Monday morning.

“The draft bill was refined for good, I believed,” he said of the Malacanang-reviewed draft law.

Iqbal said the MILF is patiently waiting for the transmittal of the Malacanang reviewed draft law to the House of Representatives.

Iqbal also said once it reaches Congress, the draft BBL should be made public for healthy discussion.

“If it reaches Congress, it becomes a pubic document and I am in favor of making it accessible to the public for transparency,” Iqbal said.

“This is for healthy and education discussion,” Iqbal, also chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that crafted the BBL, added.

Iqbal said the MILF relies on the wisdom of Malacanang and the legislators.

“We remain hopeful but we are not certain as of yet until it happens (draft bill in the hands of Congress),” he said.

“Maraming obstacles along the way, but we remain optimistic. We rely on the wisdom of our lawmakers, I am convinced it will be approved by Congress,” Iqbal said.

President Aquino will personally hand over the draft to House leaders in a ceremony to be held in Malacanang Wednesday, according to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.

“He will surely do it before he leaves for Europe this week,” Belmonte, said in a nationwide radio interview Sunday.

President Aquino is tentatively scheduled to embark on the five-nation official visit to Europe and the U.S. from September 13 to 24 to promote trade and bilateral relations among European nations and attend the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 at the UN headquarters in New York City.His last foreign travel was Japan in June where he met briefly, for the second time, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chieftain Al Mohammad Murad.

Iqbal also said his peace panel is ready to sit down with Congress to defend the draft bill.

“My appeal is for everybody to support the draft BBL, this is a formula for peace and development in Mindanao, for Muslims, Christians and highlanders,” the visibly optimistic Iqbal said.

“It’s amazing,” he said of the current draft law. “This is not about independence, it’s about peace and development,” Iqbal said. PNA

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