Nation



By Albert F. Arcilla


MILF chief negotiator confirms 'progress' in BBL talks




Posted on August 09, 2014


ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Substantial progress has been achieved by the negotiating panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), according to the head of the MILF panel.

In an interview broadcast here, Mohagher Iqbal, MILF’s chief negotiator and chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said, "We are making progress. There are a lot of contentious issues that the two parties are able to head at the level of the two peace panels. And right now, we are still here (Davao City) with our counterpart from government and we expect to solve other contentious issues… But I think we are making so much progress right now in Davao City."
 
Mr. Iqbal did admit that the "most contentious issues are still unresolved", but gave assurance that the two sides are determined to reach an agreement.
 
"As far as we are concerned, as part of the MILF we are focused on really finishing this process because right now both government and MILF have no other option except the option of peace," he said.

Mr. Iqbal noted that the two parties are adopting an "open mind" scheme to reach a mutually acceptable draft.  
 
Last Wednesday, the government’s chief negotiator, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, announced that the two panels have reached agreement on 70% of the 18 articles contained in the 100-page proposed draft BBL.
 
Malacañang, through Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr., on Thursday said the draft BBL could still be submitted to Congress for review before the end of the month.