Lawmakers want peace accord submitted to Congress by May

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014


MANILA -- Administration lawmakers are expecting on Tuesday the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will be drafted as part of the peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), to be submitted to Congress for its approval by May.

Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and Lanao del Sur Representative Pangalian Balindong said that they are hoping that the proposed basic law will not encounter any question on its constitutionality. A Transitory Commission appointed by President Benigno Aquino III will present the basic law.

"We in Congress are waiting for the [proposed] basic law, which will be presented to us by the Transitory Commission once it will be certified as urgent by the President," Balindong said.

He added that the signing on Saturday of the last of the four annexes to the Bangasamoro framework agreement is a welcome development.

Balindong said that discussions in Congress on the proposed basic law should be finished before 2016 so that the new Bangsamoro entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be able to participate in the 2016 national elections.

Meanwhile, Basilan Representative Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman said that their main concern is the demobilization of the entire ARMM since, aside from the MILF, there are still threats that should be considered such as the Bangsamaro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a Moro breakaway group.

Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano said that other threats than can derail the peace process will be addressed as law enforcement matters.

"I must say that we cannot please everybody along the way but we are happy that they sat with the government. [But for the threats], It's a matter of law enforcement," he said.

He added that the presence of other threat groups is not enough reason to delay the peace efforts in Mindanao. (Sunnex)

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