Next administration must push BBL – Deles

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The next administration must honor the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Secretary Teresita "Ging" Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), said.

The BBL, considered the final document expected to bring peace to some troubled parts of Mindanao, failed to become a law after Congress failed to act on it, following the Mamasapano botched operation where 44 Special Action Force officers were killed.

The operation was targeted at Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as "Marwan", the leader of the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia.

“It is sad that many have failed to pass the BBL, but our position is clear: that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is fully in place, all the elements on the roadmap continue to be a government commitment,” Deles said.

Deles said that the BBL is the heart of the agreement with the MILF and should be refiled the soonest possible time with the next administration. 

Deles revealed that they are continuously talking with those who are running, to support the BBL. “We are also talking with senators who will remain in position to file the BBL as soon as possible,” she said. 

Ceasefire mechanism in place 

On February 1, 2016, two days before the last session of congress, there was information that Commander Bravo and his men were on the way to his old camp Bilal in Munai town in Lanao del Norte. 

Drieza Leninding of the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development told Rappler during a protest in Marawi City that the Army and the MILF forces are just within “eyeball distance", triggering speculations there would be armed skirmishes. 

However the Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCH), which monitors and coordinates all movements of troops on both sides, said that Commander Bravo wanted to visit his old camp, though he did not coordinate his movement. 

Deles said that because of the Ceasefire Mechanism between the government and the MILF, such possible misencounter was averted. 

“The ceasefire mechanisms are firmly in place, the GPH and the MILF took immediate actions. That is something that we are continuously grateful for, that the ceasefire mechanism is fully operational and problems are addressed,” Deles added. 

Deles said that what the current administration is doing now is making sure the CAB continues.

Deles added that programs such as the ceasefire agreement, socioeconomic cooperation programs, and the continued strengthening of the partnership with the MILF and other Bangsamoro leaders will continue – despite the non-passage of the BBL under the Aquino administration. 

Push to next administration

“Perhaps you know that last week the MILF was in Jeddah to sign an agreement on the convergence of the political tracks toward the BBL. This talk on convergence will continue for a joint push for the next political leadership, to ensure in the next term that the BBL will pass,” Deles said. 

Mujiv Hataman, regional governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said that the BBL is already dead in the current administration. 

“There is no more BBL, but it is on the top 3 priorities of the Liberal Party leadership,” Hataman said. 

Hataman, however, said that the peace talk is a continuing process. “The peace process’ ending is not BBL. The BBL is one of the higher stages of process or implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement,” Hataman continued. 

Hataman said he has a strong belief in the Liberal Party’s push for the BBL’s passage. Hataman also pointed out that the name of the BBL or any agreement does not matter as long as it addresses the needs and aspirations of the Bangsamoro.

“What is essential is that the government is responsive to address those needs,” Hataman said. – Rappler.com