OXFAM delegation pays courtesy call to BTC

Cotabato City – On Wednesday, October 28, the Philippine-based Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM), an international non-government organization paid courtesy call to the office of Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Cotabato City to seek, explore issues and concerns on the current status of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) submitted to President Benigno Aquino III on September 10, 2014 at Malacañan Palace, Manila.

MILF Peace Panel Chair and also Chair of the BTC Mohagher Iqbal and some BTC Commissioners welcomed the OXFAM delegation headed by Justin Morgan, Philippines’ Country Director of the organization.

Chairman Iqbal admitted that passing a good BBL is difficult at this moment due to lack of time and the coming in of election period where lawmakers are already busy preparing for their political campaign.

Iqbal said the BTC drafted BBL no longer exist and was substituted by the Basic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BL-BAR) authored by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. in the House of Senate.

Another watered-down version of the BBL in the House of Representatives is also subject for interpolation when congress resumes session next month.

Iqbal disclosed that “80% of the original BBL was deleted in the Marcos’ version of BBL”

He also cited two critical points; first is that the MILF will not accept a diluted or bad BBL, and second, the change of administration in the government.

“We are doing our best for the success of BBL during the current administration”, Iqbal added.

When asked with a hypothetic question on dealing with the fiasco and frustration on the ground due to the possibility of congress passing a not good BBL, the MILF Chief negotiator said that, “The MILF will continue to educate and advocate the importance of holding the path of peace and to come up with initiatives and appropriate options for the continuity of the peace process”.

Iqbal further emphasized various possible scenarios, “having good BBL as the best case scenario; no BBL is passed; and the worse scenario is if bad BBL is passed; or when FAB and CAB are declared unconstitutional”.
Morgan thanked the BTC for welcoming the group.

OXFAM is an international confederation of 17 organizations network in more than 94 countries.

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