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MILF, GPH panels meet House committee on BBL chair

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 04:46 AM Wed Aug 12, 2015
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PNA
MILF chief negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal. (luwaran.com)

MANILA (PNA) -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vowed to look for all avenues to restore the 28 items that the House Ad Hoc committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has struck down, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said on Tuesday.Iqbal, together with government chief negotiators Miriam Coronel Ferrer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, met with the panel chairman and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and other senior members of the panel to appeal to the lawmakers to bring back the 28 items, most importantly the issue of natural resources and the preamble. If there is no real autonomy, there is no fiscal autonomy if there is no access to resources,” Iqbal told reporters after the meeting. The preamble is the soul of the basic law. Can you imagine a man and a woman without a soul, that’s how important is the preamble.”He admitted that there was no agreement yet but insisted that they would not stop and further explore other avenues until they achieve the common ground which are acceptable to both parties. I am very hopeful that if the BBL is passed into law, it will address the four decades of conflict in Mindanao,” he pointed out.He described his meeting with the House leaders that it was well engaged, straight forward, and what is important there is we are partners in the search for peace, the discussion become very in depth, the understanding of various issues is very important in conflict resolution.”He claimed that they had already communicated also to the senators to meet them individually and discuss various issues to bring back the lost 28 items.He said the only agreement was to continue discussions and look for the resolutions.Iqbal said that there were 3 levels – committee, plenary and bicameral- that can lobby until they see light at the end of the tunnel. The template for peace in Mindanao is the passage of a good law in the form of BBL,” he noted. Peacemaking is a continuing dialogue and cannot cut corners.”In a separate interview, Rodriguez said he did not see how the panel would accede to the request of the MILF, noting the lengthy and heated deliberations at the committee level. We always appeal to them to accept the amendments. With these amendments we're confident the substitute bill will be constitutional, he explained.Rodriguez said he will move to delete the controversial opt in” provision in the proposed measure which is infamous to the majority of lawmakers. Those adjacent to Bangsamoro are so afraid, it might reach them over the years, he said.Rodriguez said the House is gearing up for the resumption of the deliberations on the BBL at the House, with 20 more congressmen lined up to ask questions.He urged his colleagues to show up for the deliberations, expressing concerns the House debates maybe overtaken by the Senate debates. (PNA)

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