GPH, MILF in search of solution to sticky draft BBL issues PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 14:55

Government of the Philippines (GPH) chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferer said Monday that the peace panels of the state and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front  (MILF) are finding good solutions to the sticky issues on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
“We met over the weekend and made progress on two important articles pertaining to fiscal autonomy and the structure of the Bangsamoro government,” Coronel-Ferrer said, noting that the panels “took to heart the request of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III during a meeting with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to work together and bridge differences in the draft law.”
The President met with the BTC on July 24 and affirmed that he will push for the enactment of the BBL in Congress.
“Let’s approach this with an open mind, see if everything is consistent with the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro], and limit the potential challenges,” President Aquino exhorted.
Aside from the peace panels, also present during the meeting were Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abd Ghafar Tengku bin Mohamed. Representatives from the International Contact Group coming from the governments of UK, Japan and Turkey and the Conciliation Resources and Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue also observed the proceedings.
Four lawyers were also invited jointly by the two panels during the meeting to provide advice. They were selected  for their good understanding of the Bangsamoro question and their legal expertise.
To give way to the celebration of  Eid’l Fitr, the panels will observe a break in the discussions but will convene again after the Muslim holiday.
“The GPH and the MILF are both committed to continue the work until the draft BBL is finished so that it will be submitted to the Office of the President in the soonest possible time,” Coronel-Ferrer said.
The state chief negotiator likewise conveyed her apologies to Congress for the longer time they’re taking in working on the draft law.
“I guarantee that we will have a good draft BBL and we commit to work with Congress in any way the legislators see fit,” Coronel-Ferrer said. “We call on the public to keep the faith and to join our collective effort for peace and development in Mindanao.”

President Aquino is expected mention the Bangsamoro law during his State of the National Address today in Congress. Mohager Iqbal, BTC and MILF negotiating panel chair, accompanied by BTC and panel member Datu Al Camlian, and the government peace panel will attend the ceremony held annually at the reopening of Congress.