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Philippines: MILF seeks quick passage of Bangsamoro law

Creation of region that will abolish, replace Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao seen as urgent

21.08.2017
Philippines: MILF seeks quick passage of Bangsamoro law

By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Sunday appealed to Congress to speed up passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would help address the proliferation of radicalism and the crisis in Marawi.

The law came about through extended negotiations and integrated other agreements, said MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in a statement issued to reporters.

Ebrahim said the law, which has passed so much scrutiny, has been drafted twice already.

"We appeal to (the House of Representatives and Senate). We are appealing to Congress to see the real objective of the (law)," he said.

Murad said he was surprised to learn that former president and now Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had submitted another version of the law.

Just recently, Arroyo filed her own version of the bill creating the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao -- a new track separate from Malacanang Palace-backed initiatives to implement a peace agreement with Muslim rebels.

The creation of the region that will abolish and replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is seen as urgent as radical extremists linked with the Daesh terrorist group are feared to be recruiting among young local Muslims.

Arroyo filed House Bill 6121, titled the Basic Act for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, which she said "truly reflects the aspirations of our Muslim brothers and sisters as well as the indigenous brethren, representation to indigenous peoples, women, the sultanates, and other key stakeholders.”

Ebrahim, however, said as far as MILF is concerned, the draft law submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte on July 17 was already a very inclusive law wherein the latter promised to support its passage.

He underscored that one major solution to terrorism and the problem in Marawi is to put in place a political solution to the Bangsamoro problem.

"That’s the only thing that can address it effectively,” he said, adding that while they were not expecting another version of the law in Congress, MILF cannot prevent any member of Congress from submitting their own bill.

He said they remain optimistic that an “undiluted” law will be passed as early as possible.

Early this month, the draft law finally reached Congress, but it has yet to be filed as a bill in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The ongoing armed conflict in Marawi began on May 23, 2017 between Philippine government security forces and militants affiliated with Daesh, including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.
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