New BBL deadline upsets negotiator

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The government’s chief peace negotiator in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Tuesday called the new timetable for the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) “disappointing” but urged the public to “stay the course of peace.”

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“It’s disappointing, but we still hope [it will soon become a law],” Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said of the reported readjustment of Congress of the deadline to pass the proposed BBL to December.

Ferrer was speaking at “Women and Peace: Reflecting on Achievements and Challenges on Women’s Participation” marking the 15th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on September 24, a statement from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said.

“Our message is stay on track, stay the course, [have]patience and perseverance,” she said as she urged the people to speak up for peace to ensure that the process will be successful.

“There are many ways and means that we can still see this through,” according to Ferrer.
“But we need to get our voices heard. We need that push coming from everyone.”

The Senate and the House of Representatives have set December 16 as the new deadline for the passage of the proposed BBL.

Despite this, Ferrer said, “We should not give up. We have to just keep on pushing.”

“There’s still time and there are many flexibilities. We can adjust, say, the transitory provisions in the draft law. There can be room for adjustments there, [for instance in]how exactly the transition will play out given the delay in the passage of the law,” she added.

The BBL is a product of a peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

It has been stalled in Congress after the controversial Mamasapano operation, which left 44 Special Action Force troops dead in January this year.

The BBL aims to create a new autonomous region called the Bangsamoro political entity.
While it will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, nearby provinces can also opt in through a plebiscite, which will determine the scope of the new entity.

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