Drilon, Marcos make commitment to pursue peace process with MILF

By , on February 12, 2015


Senate President Franklin Drilon opens the First Session of the Senate for the Year 2015 on Tuesday (Jan. 20, 2015) at the Senate Building in Pasay City. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)
Senate President Franklin Drilon opens the First Session of the Senate for the Year 2015 on Tuesday (Jan. 20, 2015) at the Senate Building in Pasay City. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – Senate President Franklin Drilon on Wednesday admitted that passing the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has become more complicated but agreed with Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the bloody Mamasapano encounter should not hinder efforts to achieve peace in Mindanao.

”The effort to pass the BBL will be more difficult, it has become more complicated, but let us not let this incident on the Mamasapano stand in the way of achieving peace in Mindanao,” Drilon said in a media interview.

Drilon said the BBL is the product of long effort by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to sign comprehensive peace agreement in March last year.

”This is our opportunity to have lasting peace in Mindanao. That’s why we have to give it careful attention although, admittedly, it would be difficult to push the BBL,” Drilon said.

Marcos, for his part, said if the Senate will vote today, the BBL will hurdle not only the Senate but even the House of Representatives.

”What I can say is that if we are to vote today, it (BBL) will be lost in the Senate. I have talked to some congressmen and they said, if they also vote today, it will not be passed,” Marcos said in a separate media interview.

Marcos, however, said the Senate will do its best to pursue the peace process whether through the BBL or other means.

”On our part, we always think that we will not abandon this peace process. Although we have this kind of situation, I have not given up on the peace process, Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, said.

Marcos said the timetable to finish the BBL in March is already an impossible target.

”I am afraid the timetable is completely demolished, that is the only word I can use because there are so many inquiries that still need to be conducted,” Marcos said.

With the Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troops, Marcos said there is an urgent need to revise the BBL “to prevent this kind of incident from happening in the future.”

Drilon urged the MILF leadership to attend the Senate inquiry and “do their share in building confidence” that suffered so much due to the bloody Mamasapano encounter.