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Arab nations reiterate call for passage of BBL

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has reiterated its support for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, as well as its support for the Philippine government’s peace efforts with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The OIC said that the passage of the BBL is in harmony with the ongoing Tripartite Review of the 1996 final peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front.

“[T]he OIC has maintained ongoing interest and engagement in this process since its inception. OIC member states have, in their annual Council of Foreign Ministers Meetings, welcomed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and viewed it as a first step toward the fulfillment of the 1976 Tripoli and the 1996 Jakarta Agreements,” OIC Secretary­-  General Iyad Ameen Madani said in separate letters to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

“Allow me to reaffirm our support to the efforts of the Philippine nation in the cause of peace and we remain committed to seeing a just and lasting solution that will benefit all the people of the Philippines,” Madani added.

Madani went to the Philippines last year to help oversee the activation of the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum, a venue wherein the MILF and the MNLF can harmonize their positions with regard achieving genuine autonomy as envisioned in 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Meanwhile, a ministerial meeting on the Tripartite Review Process has been scheduled on Jan. 25 to 26 and will be attended by top officials from the Philippines and representatives of the Misuari and Sema groups of the MNLF. 

Madani expressed grave concerns about the delay and the perceived watering down of the bill.

“[The OIC] urges the Philippine authorities, in particular the lawmakers, who share the common goal at working for peace and stability not to let this historical moment become another lost opportunity,” he wrote.

The House of Representatives has set the voting on the passage of the BBL on Wednesday, meaning it only has Monday and Tuesday to finish the “turno en contra speeches” and the period of amendments.

The Senate, meanwhile, has yet to discuss the BBL since it returned to work from the holiday break. The upper chamber has also scheduled a reopening of the Mamasapano probe on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the passage of the BBL will not only improve the Bangsamoro region but will also change the discourse on Mindanao by ending the armed conflict with the MILF, the largest Moro rebel group in the country, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said on Sunday.

“What we need to see at this point in time is the big picture. This law is not only for the present but it will also affect the future of the Bangsamoro,” Deles said.

Deles reminded lawmakers that the BBL’s passage should not be affected by the Mamasapano probe re-opening and that the remaining session days would be used to focus on important bills currently pending for legislation.

Topics: Organization of Islamic Cooperation , BBL
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