GPH, MILF reach positive consensus on draft Basic Law PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 July 2014 15:03

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Negotiators of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Friday announced the positive developments in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as both sides reached significant consensus on the contents of the proposed bill that will serve as the legal foundation of the future Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.
In a five-paragraph joint press statement, the parties expressed their satisfaction over the process of jointly fine-tuning the BBL, saying that they ended their special meeting “on a positive note” in Kuala Lumpur on Friday morning.
“They achieved modest progress and identified consensus language in the light of signed agreements. They resolved to continue working together to come up with a mutually acceptable draft Bangsamoro Basic Law,” the press statement said.
The statement was released following the four-day meeting of the peace panel members to harmonize the legal interpretations of the contents of the draft Basic Law. The meeting started on July 8.
The 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which was created to draft the BBL, submitted their draft to the Office of the President on April 22 for review.
Due diligence is necessary since President Aquino will certify the BBL as an urgent bill to fast-track its passage in Congress. The meticulous process of drafting of the BBL will ensure that the bill, which is the legal document of the CAB, conforms to the flexibilities and the principles of the Constitution, and embodies the true spirit and genuine intentions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – a product of 17 years of negotiations between the government and the MILF.
According to the joint statement, the recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur “was held after the BTC… issued a resolution elevating to the Panels for clarification and resolution the outstanding issues on the draft Basic Law.”
Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the state’s chief negotiator, headed the Philippine government delegation, while Mohagher Iqbal, MILF’s chief negotiator and BTC chair, led the MILF peace panel in the meeting. Members of the BTC and experts from the International Contact Group were also present to “observe the discussions,” the press statement said.
Negotiators described the recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur as an effective way for them to analyze and modify the details of the draft BBL.
“The meeting provided the panels the opportunity to clarify misperceptions and affirm the intent and sincerity of the parties to abide by the signed agreements,” they said, adding that they are pleased with the guidance of His Excellency Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, the Malaysian facilitator for hosting and assisting the negotiators in the meeting.
The Parties said they will continue their discussions over the remaining details of the BBL in Manila “within the next few days.”
“They [peace panel members] recognize the importance of these discussions in order to ensure that the draft law would be submitted to Congress at the soonest possible time,” the joint press statement said.
Congress will resume its regular session on July 28 at the annual State of the Nation Address of President Aquino.
As this developed, the peace negotiators call on the people to strengthen their faith in the southern peace process as they expressed their gratitude to “the public for their continued support towards the common objective of bringing a just resolution to the conflict in Mindanao” amid concerns in the BBL.
Coronel-Ferrer noted that the Philippine government and the MILF are well aware of the timeline of the implementation process, saying that both sides are steadfast in their commitments to achieve the ultimate goal of genuine autonomy as embodied in the CAB.
The peace negotiators previously explained that the review process of the draft BBL is vital in ensuring the smooth passage of the bill in Congress so it can withstand legal challenges.