Stalled Bangsamoro law delays MILF disarming

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Decommissioning of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) armed forces and their weapons has been delayed because of Congress’ failure to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) into law.

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MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said in a chance interview on Thursday that the decommissioning process has been stalled because the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), or the peace pact signed between the government and the MILF, provides that the movements of such process and the BBL should take place simultaneously.

The proposed Bangsamoro measure—the fruit of the CAB—will create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region that will be guaranteed fiscal autonomy and be governed by the Bangsamoro Parliament elected by the Bangsamoro Region’s inhabitants.

“Of course [it was delayed]because the decommissioning is tied up with political milestones,” Iqbal said.

“If the Bangsamoro law is passed and ratified, 30 percent of the decommissioning process will be completed. If it moves to the third phase or the organization and operationalization of the Bangsamoro police, then another 35 percent of our forces will be decommissioned.

The final 35 percent will be decommissioned once all agreements between the parties are implemented,” he added, referring to the government and the MILF.

Last June, the MILF deactivated over 75 weapons, including 55 high-powered arms.
In the same ceremony witnessed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Iqbal in Maguindanao in southern Mindanao, it also decommissioned 145 of its 10,000 armed forces identified as Bangsamoro Islamic Forces.

Under the proposed Bangsamoro law, the Bangsamoro Region will also be receiving an annual block grant that is 2.4 percent of the national tax collection, a Special Development Fund worth P17 billion (P7 billion initially and P2 billion for the next five years) and a P1-billion transition fund for infrastructure construction and rehabilitation work.

Enactment into a law of the BBL under the Aquino Administration, however, is dimming.
The proposed measure will still have to undergo a period of amendments before it can be put to a vote on second and third readings.

In addition, not a single political party in the House of Representatives, including the dominant Liberal Party headed by the President, has come up with a party stand in favor of the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro law.

Congress will only be in session for three weeks in January 2016 before it adjourns session again to give way to the campaign period for the 2016 elections.

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1 Comment

  1. If MNLF is for real, then they should surrender their weapons without preconditions. Having their kinds of arsenal is not an indicative of a peace loving people.