Nation



By Alden M. Monzon, Reporter


MILF in new editorial reminds Congress of BBL




Posted on October 26, 2015


THE MORO Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in an editorial chided Congress for the delay in the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“If we say, it is Congress’ responsibility, we mean it as a body or collectively. We know that there are many lawmakers in both chambers of Congress who are pushing for the passage of the BBL, especially Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon. But so far, their collective efforts are not enough to pass the BBL in three previous attempts,” said the editorial titled, “Congress Has BBL’s Destiny” posted on the MILF Web site, Luwaran.net.

“This is not a finger-pointing exercise. Except those clearly spoiling the BBL in the House and in the Senate, we are not faulting anyone. But whatever is the reason, if the BBL does not pass Congress, it is Congress that did not deliver,” the editorial also said.

“If we examine closely why the BBL is not moving fast in Congress, the main reasons for this, borrowing the view of Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, are the fears, prejudices, hatred, and even paranoia of the majority population of the Moros in Mindanao.”

“These negative views or perceptions by the majority are not only felt by these lawmakers who are deliberating the BBL but also shared by some of them,” the editorial added.

Congressional hearings on the proposed law, setting up the mechanisms for autonomy in Mindanao on the MILF’s watch, started in September last year. But the draft BBL became mired in the aftermath of the Jan. 25 police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which led to the deaths of 44 members of the Special Action Force in the hands of fighters of the MILF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

This incident turned into the biggest controversy to rock the administration of President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, of whom the editorial, without any reference to Mamasapano, also said: “We still firmly believe that the BBL can still be pass under his close watch. He still has our trust and confidence safely intact.”

Both the Senate and House versions of the proposed law -- a departure in many areas from the original draft by the MILF and the Office of the President -- are pending second reading.

The latest deadline by Congress to pass the BBL is Dec. 16. Congress will resume sessions on Nov. 3.