Saturday, July 4, 2015

Gov’t peace panel keeps hopes high on Congress’ okay of BBL

Gov’t peace panel keeps hopes high on Congress’ okay of BBL

MANILA – The government peace panel expressed optimism that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will get the thumbs up of majority of members of the present Congress despite lingering questions of some legislators.
GPH peace panel member Senen Bacani said the government peace team is optimistic that the draft Bangsamoro law will pass the legislative hurdle, pointing out that the measure has the full support of President Benigno Aquino III and the leaderships of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Bacani said: “Hopefully with a fuller discussion of this law there will be a better understanding of what is in there for everybody. We’ve always said that we’re relying on the collective wisdom of the members of both houses [Senate and House of Representatives] to come up with a law that will basically satisfy the aspirations of the Bangsamoro and one that will be in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).”
“We know that there is no such thing as an overnight process. What is important is the implementation of the law. And what is even more important is the spirit of the law. (And) how do you change the mindset of people? That cannot be done overnight. There has to be a new way of thinking,” he added.
While he conceded that prejudices and biases brought by past and current social and cultural inequities add to the challenges confronting the BBL, Bacani said these should not be stumbling blocks in the approval of the proposed bill.
He pointed out anew that the full implementation of the decommissioning process is concurrent to the enactment of the draft BBL into law.
“As previously agreed in the Annex on Normalization, the phase two of the decommissioning process, [which is the completion of] validation of MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) forces and weapons up to the ratification of the BBL, it naturally follows that the 30 percent decommissioning will also happen in phase two,” Bacani said.
He likewise stressed that the MILF has proven that it can partner with the government in providing security and in the implementation of the law, particularly in areas in Mindanao with presence of armed groups.
“[This measure] will be the first step towards a road to a just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro and in Mindanao,” he added. #

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