Palace to lawmakers: Consider long-term impact of withdrawal from Bangsamoro

By , on January 27, 2015


Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma

MANILA — A Malacanang executive on Tuesday said lawmakers who have decided to back out from supporting the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should think of the consequences of their decisions.

“While recognizing the challenges posed by the violent incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, it is important to keep in mind the vital objective of attaining long-term peace, stability and progress in Mindanao,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.

Reports said Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and JV Ejercito have withdrawn as co-authors in the proposed BBL after the clash between members of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) last Sunday.

The incident, which the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) dubbed as a “misencourter”, left around 44 fatalities.

The PNP-SAF members were assigned to capture Malaysian Zulkipli bin Hir, a.k.a. Marwan, and Filipino Abdul Basit USman, reportedly bomb experts who were linked with the terror group Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and who are being hunted by the US.

”Those who have expressed reservations about supporting the enactment of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) may wish to consider the adverse consequences of not pursuing the peace process, such as a possible return to the old order characterized by ‘warlordism’, lawlessness, misuse of public funds and the near-total breakdown of governance,” Coloma said.

Earlier, the PCOO Secretary said the Aquino administration is still confident that approval of the BBL by both Houses of Congress will happen within the term of the current administration because lawmakers have committed to support the measure.

The Aquino government has made progress in putting necessary programs that promotes peace and economic growth in the country’s second largest island group.

This after representatives of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed in March 2014 the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and submitted a draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress last September.

The agreement is targeted to provide political stability, economic growth, and long-lasting peace in the region.