MILF to ConCom: Give Moro people a chance

MANILA Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar on Tuesday appealed to the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution and to the peace-loving Filipinos to give Moro people a chance to achieve progress.

Jaafar, also chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), made this appeal as BTC presented the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to the Concom subcommittee on Bangsamoro.

We must appeal to all of you and to all peace-loving Filipinos to give us the Moro, the Muslims, a chance so that [we can] at least catch up in terms of progress with our brothers in Luzon, he told the panel.

He said Mindanao has been lagging behind Luzon for more than 50 years.

Jaafar said the passage of the BBL is the most civilized and most peaceful way to resolve the 50 years of war in Mindanao.

If the BBL can be enacted, we can take care of ourselves, the MILF official said, adding BBL is a set of laws to govern the future of the Bangsamoro.

Bangsamoro is an answer to the legitimate demand of the Moro people to have a government of their own not separate from the Republic of the Philippines government, Jaafar said.

Jaafar also called for the implementation of all the peace agreements reached between the Philppine government and the MILF.

In response, ConCom chairman and retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno suggested to the BTC to submit a BBL draft that is designed for the federal form of government under the proposed Charter change.

The BBL draft, which BTC submitted to the House of Representatives, is suited for the present unitary form of government.

Jaafar explained that the presented BBL draft is suited for the current form of government since really we don't know whether the move to a federal government will succeed.

For his part, ConCom subcommittee on Bangsamoro vice chair Randolf Parcasio assured the BTC that the committee is preparing for scenarios that may arise if the BBL is passed first before the approval of the federal constitution.

If the BBL is approved before a federal constitution, we have some preparation for that. That is why we urged you earlier to provide us certain suggestions, Parcasio said.

BTC member Mohagher Iqbal said the passage of the BBL should come first since it was promised by no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

It was the personal commitment of President Duterte during the election campaign, he said.

Iqbal also said it is easier to pass BBL rather amend the Constitution to give way to federalism which is also being pushed by President Duterte.

Source: Philippine News Agency