SIMUAY, SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) officials reject the revisions made to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that takes away control over Lake Lanao from the Bangsamoro government.
“No way can we accept the Marcos proposal. For the MILF, it is better to have no BBL than a bad BBL,” MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told The Manila Times.
Iqbal was referring to the version of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Senate Committee on Local Government chairman, to delete a provision in the proposed BBL that would give the Bangsamoro government control and supervision over Lake Lanao, saying this could affect energy security in Mindanao.
The waters of Lake Lanao, the country’s second largest lake, streams down to the Agus River generating the Agus Hydroelectric Power Plants.
“He [Marcos] is violating the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro [CAB] and Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro [FAB]. Lake Lanao is part of inland waters which is exclusive to the Bangsamoro,” Iqbal emphasized.
On the other hand, Misa- mis Oriental Vice Governor Joey Pelaez is not in favor of the provision that gives the administrative control of Lake Lanao to the Bangsamoro government.
In a letter he sent to Marcos, Pelaez said the BBL does not contain specific mechanisms on decision-making over the management of the water source between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, which could be a reason for conflict.
“There will be a big problem if this concern will not be addressed before passing the law. All Mindanaoans deserve a stable, secured, low cost and environment-friendly power source,” he added.
In a separate interview with The Times, Ghazali Jaafar, the MILF 1st vice chairman for political affairs, corroborated what Iqbal said earlier saying the issue on the inclusion of Lanao Lake as part of the Bangsamoro territory has been long resolved in several rounds of the Philippine government-MILF peace talks held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.