MANILA — Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles said on Tuesday some lawmakers’ withdrawal of support to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is equivalent to forsaking sacrifices in the past and bars a good future for Mindanao.
In a statement, Deles said, “We understand the concerns of some senators that led to their decision to withdraw support from the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
“But, we would like to issue an appeal for our leaders in Congress and our people to continue supporting our work for peace,” she added.
This after Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and JV Ejercito announced that they no longer support the proposed BBL after a violent firefight between members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last Sunday.
The incident, which the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) dubbed as a “misencounter,” left 44 SAF members dead.
The SAF members were assigned to capture Malaysian Zulkipli bin Hir, a.k.a. Marwan, and Filipino Abdul Basit Usman, reportedly bomb experts who are linked with the terror group Jemaah Islamiya and who are being hunted by the United States.
Deles said, “It is our duty not only to those who have fallen in Mamasapano, but to all the lives which have been sacrificed over the decades, and to the yet unborn generation of Filipinos to pursue justice and peace.”
”To sacrifice both will be to jeopardize the future of our nation and throw away what we have achieved over the years,” she said.
“Let us continue to find the way forward without losing sight of our ultimate goal of bringing just, inclusive and enduring peace that our people have been longing for and which our people — especially our children -– deserve,” she added.
The Aquino government has made progress in putting necessary programs that promote 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 and economic growth in what is currently called the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), but will be called Autonomous Government of Bangsamoro once the new political entity is in place in 2016.
Under the agreement, the government and the MILF will have to share the revenues from the resource-rich region as well as on governmental power in the area.