COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) officials through the Bangsamoro Transition Committee issued a resolution opposing the substitute bill aimed to create a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
The 14-member committee appealed to members of the House of Representatives and Senate to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in its original form, that is, House Bill No. 4994 and Senate Bill No. 2408 as sponsored in the lower and upper houses of Congress, respectively.
The group remained firm in their belief that the BBL is the “most appropriate version,” adding that its provisions of the proposed law are consistent with the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
They added that the original BBL “underwent the legitimate process of consultation with the people and engagement with the Office of the President.”
Senator Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said they held a series of public hearings in the provinces including Sulu, Zamboanga, and other parts of Mindanao and found that members of the Sultanate, highlanders and Christians living in the area were not consulted.
“We have tried to make it as inclusive of the different stakeholders as possible, while staying true to the intentions and aims of the original. I believe that in this version we have an opportunity to take an important step towards a just and lasting peace,” Marcos said in a radio interview.
Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said personally he is optimistic that Congress will in the end “pass a law that is acceptable for us Muslims in the Philippines.”
“There should be a law that will serve as a vehicle for Muslims to achieve progress,” Jaafar said.
Meanwhile, members of the One Bangsamoro Movement, headed by Alan Balangi of Marawi City, called for the junking of the new version of the BBL.
Balangi has also called upon the ulama (Islamic scholars) to issue a fatwa (verdict) declaring the new proposal as anti-Muslim.
He also said Muslim Filipinos should not support the re-election bid of senators who are anti-BBL.