Cotabato City – “We are all agreed that without the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), the CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro) will never be fully implemented,” Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Negotiating Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal said in his message during the commemoration of the 2nd Anniversary of the CAB signing held in this town on March 28, 2016.
He said, “While some aspects of CAB can be started, yet we will never agree that we just only observe the ceasefire and socio-economic initiatives without seeing the fulfilment of the political track.”
Iqbal stressed, “Without the BBL, the CAB can never become the solution to the Bangsamoro Problem or Question.”
With the common goal of ending the decades of conflict in Southern Philippines the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF signed the CAB on March 27, 2014 at Malacañang Palace.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by government officials, leadership of the MILF, Malaysian facilitator, peace advocates, diplomatic corps and representatives of international donor organizations.
The agreement embodies the negotiated resolution to address the yearnings of the Bangsamoro people for self-determination.
The Philippine Congress should enact the BBL, as stipulated in the CAB, for the said agreement to be fulfilled. Early last month, members of the House of Representatives adjourned its session without passing the proposed Bangsamoro law.
Once passed into law and approved by the Bangsamoro people through a plebiscite, the BBL will provide the establishment of a more meaningful autonomous region for the Bangsamoro people with defined territory and more political and fiscal powers.
Iqbal said there are people who see there is no need to commemorate the CAB following the non-passage of the BBL.“ There may be gem of truth to this opinion,” he added.
The MILF chief negotiator slammed those groups with vested interests who are insatiable with wealth and power and enslaved by religious bigotry that caused the defeat of the BBL in Congress.
“It was the BLBAR (Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region) that died, not the BBL that is based on the CAB,” Iqbal explained.
BLBAR is the version of Senate and the House of Representatives of the Bangsamoro law which is opposed by the MILF because it no longer includes substantial provisions of the CAB-compliant BBL.
Hundreds of stakeholders of the GPH-MILFpeace process comprised of peace advocates, local officials, MILF officials, peace process mechanisms, donor agencies and media personalities were present in the occasion.
The commemoration has the theme, “Stand up for Peace! Long live the CAB.” Present in the event was Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles who also gave her message.