Bangsamoro peace process ‘stronger’ despite BBL non-passage, OPAPP and MILF say

By , on March 30, 2016


President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak witness MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Ghafar, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles affix their signature to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace on March 27, 2015. Also in photo are MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim,Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles,MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal,GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar  (Photo by Ryan Lim/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)
President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak witness MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Ghafar, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles affix their signature to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace on March 27, 2015. Also in photo are MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim,Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles,MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal,GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar
(Photo by Ryan Lim/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)

COTABATO CITY – Both the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vowed to pursue the path of peace and continue the fight for the passage of the stalled Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) during the commemoration of the second anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said much has been attained in the Bangsamoro peace process amid the setbacks posed by the non-passage of the proposed measure.

“Our faith is not misplaced: the peace process, while badly hit, remains intact; while battered, it has emerged, I daresay, even stronger,” Deles said during the CAB anniversary celebration held at the Notre Dame University gymnasium on Monday.

“We have attained much despite the setbacks and difficulties we have faced. Perhaps, most important of these achievements is the fact that we have managed to foster a felt measure of peace on the ground even as the peace process is still moving towards its conclusion,” she added.

For his part, MILF Chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim said in a statement that it would be a big mistake to discontinue the momentum of the Bangsamoro peace process, particularly noting that the indelible CAB is still intact.

“Turning our backs on the peace process would be a mistake. After all, we have the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro intact… which is over and above the Bangsamoro Basic Law. This silver lining among the dark clouds is the legitimacy of the CAB and its binding effect to the GPH and the MILF that forged the mutually acceptable agreement two years ago,” said Murad.

The statement likewise said, “It will take patience, steadfastness and leadership on both sides to reach the ultimate goal of achieving just and lasting peace. And even if the roadmap was not met, the signed CAB would at least ensure that commitments are kept and compliance is demandable.”

The event was attended by around 500 guests comprised of local and international peace actors and stakeholders, including the MILF combatants who were decommissioned in June last year.‎ Each of the ceasefire and peace mechanism bodies established under the Bangsamoro peace process umbrella were represented as well.

Both GPH chief negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal were present at the event to honor and recognize those who have been instrumental to the success of the process.