GMA News Online – Bongbong invites MILF to help him craft substitute BBL

By Amita Legaspi | GMA News Online

gmanewsonline_logoSenator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday invited the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to help him craft the substitute bill for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which he said is full of flaws as a result of failure to consult other stakeholders.

“I invite the MILF to join me and the Filipino people in helping craft a document of peace that is consistent with the laws of our land; a document that will give our Muslim brothers and sisters an autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao that is inclusive and beneficial to all,”  he said in his privilege speech.

Describing himself as a “man of peace,” Marcos said he is willing to listen to the MILF “and all those who have something relevant to say about the BBL.”
“I will take pause and consider any or all suggestions on how best to travel the perilous road to peace,” he said. “Let us work on this important legislation together, no matter how seemingly difficult, tedious and drawn-out the entire process is.”

He also said he would welcome a passionate and heated debate during the crafting of the substitute bill.

“I would rather that we and the MILF talk, talk, talk, in the hope of agreement, than resort to violence and forever be in disagreement. War is not an option; never is; never will be,” Marcos  said.

He said he does not want any more blood to be spilled between soldiers and the MILF.  “We should embrace our disagreements as a demonstration of our commitment to an equitable and enduring peace; peace in Mindanao; peace in the land.”

No to violence

Marcos also appealed to the MILF to make good its promise not to resort to force or violence in the event the original BBL is amended or revised by Congress.

“I must remind the MILF that we are bound by our Constitution and that we honor it by adhering to its spirit and intent. I must also remind the MILF that when the BBL was drafted, no consultations were held with other important stakeholders, such as the MNLF, the Lumads, the Indigenous people, the Sultanates, the business sector, among others. They were totally shut out of the process,” he said.

He said that his task as chairman of the committee on local government is to ensure that the proposed law for the Bangsamoro is inclusive, and that all affected sectors of society are heard.

Marcos then appealed to the MILF and other national leaders to set aside emotion and rise above petty politics in the interest of peace. “At the risk of repetition, I urge the MILF, not only its leadership but all its commanders, to renounce war as an instrument of peace,” he said.

He also challenged the MILF to demonstrate its sincerity in achieving peace by helping the Department of Justice in the speedy investigation of the Mamasapano massacre and identifying and bringing the killers of our SAF 44 to justice.

“I challenge the MILF to demonstrate that they are our partners for peace by bowing to the force of reason rather than the reason of force,” said Marcos.

The BBL is the embodiment of the years of peace negotiations and agreements between the government and the MILF. It seeks to create a Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The hearings on BBL were delayed following the Mamasapano incident, which resulted in the deaths of 44 Special Action Force commandos in an encounter with Moro rebels, including members of the MILF.

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