The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) remains a viable signed document that will sustain the momentum of the peace process in Mindanao even without the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the chairman of government peace panel said on Saturday.
In a statement, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer assured that the BBL’s ill fate under the 16th Congress will not be a deterrent to continued implementation of the signed 2014 peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
While the passage of the BBL remains to be the key to the Bangsamoro peace process, Ferrer said the peace panels will continue programs that do not require legislative action.
On the socio-economic projects for the transformation of MILF camps into productive communities, she cited “solar power systems [that]will be installed to provide communities their needs for electricity, hanging bridges will be constructed to connect villages and water supply systems will be built in some other areas.”
“In the next five months before President Benigno Aquino 3rd steps down in June, the panels would attempt to identify more projects for the remote parts of Maguindanao and Lanao provinces, and the island provinces,” according to Ferrer.
The government chief negotiator said, “We are still on the peace track.”
“No one is backing out in the peace process, not the MILF, not the government, not the international community that supported our efforts, and certainly all the mechanisms are fully functional,” Ferrer added.
Now in Berlin to attend a conference on peace negotiations, she disclosed that she met early this week with two MILF ground commanders in Maguindanao and heard directly from them that they will abide by the orders of their leadership to observe and protect the ceasefire.
In turn, Ferrer assured them of the President’s injunction to preserve the ceasefire with the MILF, even as military and law enforcement operations continue against lawless elements in southern Mindanao.
“The seeds have been planted over the last decades. We have seen some of the fruits. This is a process and processes take time. In a matter of time, the road map would be accomplished,” said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles maintained that momentum of gains of the Bangsamoro peace process should be sustained by the next administration.
She said challenges encountered in this administration in pushing for the passage of the BBL brought positive effects.
“The peace process is not a magic wand that there would be peace in an overnight timeline. It is a process. What we went through last year only showed the profound understanding of the sectors on the peace negotiations,” Deles added.
“There are unprecedented events that have not happened before and various statements of support. The worst crisis also brought out unexpected support from people of all sectors who stood up for the peace process. We got the peace process on the national agenda. We will continue to pursue peace,” she said.