GRP chief negotiator still sees passage of BBL PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 February 2015 14:49

Government chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said she still “sees positive signs” for Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) amidst a public outcry following the deadly Mamasapano incident that killed 44 police commandos by joint forces of Moro rebels and a breakaway group.

“BBL is not down and still kicking,” Ferrer said during a press briefing at the 1771 Restaurant in Ortigas Center in Pasig City Friday night.

She said the government will continue to pursue a peaceful and lasting solution to the decades-old armed conflict in southern Philippines.

Ferrer admitted that the timetable for Congress to pass the BBL by next month will not happen but expressed hope the legislative body will act on it before it adjourns.

The killing of the 44 elite troopers of the Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25 has sparked public outrage across the country.

The slain police commandos were part of the 392-man SAF troopers tasked to serve a warrant of arrest for wanted international terrorist leader Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan when they encountered combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a cornfield in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

While Marwan was neutralized, 18 MILF fighters and five civilians were killed during the almost 12-hour clash. There were no reports of BIFF casualties.

Congress has started investigating the incident to find out the truth on why the SAF did not coordinate with the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao before the police commandos moved in to get Marwan.

“We would wait the result of the investigation,” Ferrer said.

With regards to building up the case against those involved in the attack, Ferrer said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is in charge in building up the case and the gathering of evidence.

At the same time, Ferrer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles expect the MILF to sanction their men involved in the encounter according to their rules.

“We expect them to enforce discipline and let the law take its course,” Ferrer pointed out. To this Deles added “we have our law.”

When asked if the MILF punished their men involved in the Al Barka massacre that killed 19 Army Special Forces in Basilan in 2011, Deles said the MILF suspended an MILF commander. Aside from the MILF, the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) also took part in the massacre.