Government continues to pursue Bangsamoro peace process

MANILA, Oct. 3 -- While there is a growing serious concern from stakeholders in the Bangsamoro peace process over the delay in the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the government is committed to continue its relentless efforts to secure its enactment into law as soon as possible, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said on Thursday.

Deles emphasized that the government and other stakeholders in the Bangsamoro peace process “cannot afford to go back to square one” and remain firm in its goal to see the BBL passed into law within the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

“We’re not giving up. Senators have voiced (their opinion) that they hope to finish the interpellation before Congress goes to recess this October. The timetable for its passage still exists,” Deles said after attending the hearings in the House of Representatives for the OPAPP’s proposed budget for 2016.

The government continues to engage both houses of Congress in deliberating and finishing the interpellations of the proposed substitute bills.

“We all know the dynamics of the Congress. We are still positive that we can pass this law before the end of this administration. This is the farthest we have ever gone in the peace process,” Deles added.

Deles also asked support from the country’s leading business groups and chambers, and gave strong value to the importance of having a candid dialogue on the status of the BBL with concerned sectors of Philippine society “in the face of often-mixed and confusing messaging coming out of Philippine media at this time.”

Meanwhile in his Eid’l Adha message, Moro Islamic Liberation Front chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim made a commitment that his group would remain committed and a partner of the government in pursuing the peace process.

Murad also expressed the group’s belief that Congress would eventually pass a BBL that reflects the spirit and intentions of the CAB.

“With the unwavering commitment of the President and his allies in the administration, coupled with the strong support of the international community, as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OlC), including the peace loving peoples of the country and the world and most of all our complete trust in the Oneness and Justness of Allah (SVW), we remain optimistic,” Murad said.

“The gains of the peace process are much wider and more comprehensive. What is of prime importance is the preservation and sustenance of the achievements of the struggle and the Bangsamoro people in the peace process,” he added.

Deles also echoed Murad’s commitment and said that it was very unlikely that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front would go back to war despite delays in the passage of the BBL.

“The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have signed agreements and the recent decommissioning showed their sincerity in the peace talks. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is doing their part in keeping the trust to the government and now we should also do our part in the peace process,” Deles said.

The Senate and House leaderships had earlier committed to pass the BBL before the two chambers go on recess this October prior to the filing of certificates of candidacies for the 2016 elections. However, both chambers are still in the period of interpellations as of today because of delays in the legislative mill, mainly the lack of quorum in the House and the intense questioning by senators on the provisions of the bill during floor deliberations.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon had already announced that they agreed to move the deadline for the passage of the BBL to December 16 this year. (OPAPP)

 © 2015