MILF UPSET OVER BANGSAMORO DELAY

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THE Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is worried over Malacañang’s delay in the submission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress for ratification.

MILF Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghadzali Jaafar on Tuesday said each day of delay makes the BBL’s chances of becoming a law within the year dimmer. Congress is scheduled to go on a 49-day recess starting on June 7.

“Importante para sa Bangsamoro government ito sapagkat kung walang batas ang isang gobyerno, hindi tatakbo ito bilang isang gobyerno. [This is important to the Bangsamoro government because a government cannot run without a law],” Jaafar stressed

He refused to comment on speculations that the Aquino administration may have lost interest in the peace agreement.


“What I can say is that the Bangsamoro people and Bangsamoro leaders are getting worried at the delay,” Jaafar said.

When asked if the delay would lead to some sort of violence, he declined to make a categorical statement.

“I am not saying that but the question is what will happen if the Bangsamoro, the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law is delayed? If the ratification of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is delayed, what will the Bangsomoro do? Will the Bangsamoro accept that, if they reject [it], what will they do? That I cannot answer at the moment,” Jaafar said.

The BBL was crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) after the signing of a comprehensive agreement between the government and MILF peace panels.

The draft law was submitted to Malacanang on April 22.

Malacañang, through Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., earlier said the draft law will not be forwarded to Congress until the Palace legal team and the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel have finished reviewing it.

Coloma, however, could not give a timeframe when the review would be completed.

But Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte accused the Palace of sabotaging the establishment of a Bangsamoro region.

“If anybody here is making a great disservice to the peace process, it is the Palace because of its refusal to submit the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. The deadline has lapsed long ago. I see them passing this [draft Bangsamoro Basic Law]late here and asking us to approve it without scrutiny because the commitment made by the President is at stake,” Romualdez said in a news conference.

There are only three session days left before Congress adjourns sine die next week. After the sine die adjournment, Congress will go on a break for more than a month. Sessions will resume on the fourth Monday of July.

The Bangsamoro Region that will supplant the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is expected to be in place before the 2016 presidential elections.

But Romualdez said Congress will also be blamed if the passage of the BBL bill is delayed.

“We are being held hostage here. They have been holding that document for a long time, including the annexes. Why are they not submitting it? It’s as if they want to give it to us at the last minute so that they can blame us [on[ its non-passage and possible infirmities. We are being set up to be in the pressure cooker and take on mission impossible. The problem with this administration is that they always want to look good at the expense of the House and the Senate. This is clear mischief,” he added.

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