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Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said during the Kapehan sa Region-12 program of the Philippine Information Agency at the Bishop's Palace in Cotabato City on February 4, that the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano encounter seemed to have taken its toll on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that it virtually changed the game as biases and prejudices erupted between Christians and Muslims, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao reported.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) gave its assurance to a high-ranking official of the United Nations that it would continue its engagement with all stakeholders including the international community in spite of the non-passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Dismayed over the failure of the House of Representatives to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) suggests that the next administration should have a “strong group” to lobby Congress for the passage of the measure.

President Benigno Aquino is to blame for allowing Congress to make drastic changes to the original draft of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said on Tuesday, February 2, GMA news said in its report.

Responding to mixed emotions for the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the 16th Congress, the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) intensifies its efforts to appease peoples’ frustrations and anger by conducting peace forums in Zamboanga City that organizers dubbed it as “Frustration Management Program”.  On February 1, 2016, a forum was held in the village of Cawit, scene of the bloody Zamboanga siege by fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 2013.

“We can not finish the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the time we adjourn on Wednesday, but that does not mean that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is dead,” Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said in a press release posted on the Senate website.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has fallen on the wayside. Congress has snuffed its life, citing various, if not shallow, reasons. Lack of time is merely an alibi; other laws including the National Appropriation Bill passed without much hassle. Even if there was no quorum especially in the Lower House, deliberations proceeded. The Mamasapano outcry is expected. We sympathized with the families of all those who have died as a result of the tragic incident.

Anything that promotes the well-being of the people is part of the grand agenda of the MILF, being a people-based revolutionary movement. Serving the people is one of our reasons why we exist. We do not want them to suffer and everything we undertake has their interests as primordial consideration. Having light in every home is a basic necessity. People must not be deprived of it. At all times, this must be sought. But securing the transmission lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for people to continue access to power can well be a recommended act. But for the MILF to simply announce that we commit to help secure these lines is more problematic than what meets the eye. Both the short and long term implications and complications have far-reaching effects.

This is it. We are at the threshold of history. Are we going forward to peace or shall we again miss the bus of peace and prosperity?

The Manila Times has carried a report that the faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) based in Basilan had officially affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The article was based on a video released by the group, showing more than 30 armed militants led by Isnilon Hapilon, also known as Abu Abdullah, declaring their loyalty to the ISIS.

Thirteen civilians were reported to have died late last month as a result of the offensive initiated by so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group of the MILF. Eight of the civilians were from Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, all Christians, and the others from the towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sangki, both in Maguindanao.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, January 25, 2016 – “A-DL” is Anti-Dynasty Law; “FOIL” is Freedom of Information Law. BBL is the original Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. All three are still bills marooned in the 16th Congress. As BBL has been debased and pining for redemption and passage, A-DL and FOIL, long resigned to their fate, are comforting it: “Hindi ka nag-iisa” (You are not alone.)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, January 14, 2016 – No matter how unacceptable, let it be stated simply: The Bangsamor is banished indefinitely. This is seen through prevailing circumstances that look irreversible. This is squarely facing the fact. Let’s hope, though, that by a miraculous stroke of fate, the statement is proven wrong.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, December 19, 2015 – The Philippine Star (December 16, 2015: House drops opt-in provision from BBL) reported the House of Representatives “has decided to delete the controversial opt-in provision from the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a move to lessen opposition to the measure.” 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 Dec) – MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal is right, “If you look at the process, it looks like they (the Congress)can no longer deliver . … I’m no longer optimistic.”He said this during the media roundtable discussion at the University of the Philippines (Visayas) in Iloilo City last December 4 (MindaNews, December 6 2015: MILF’s Iqbal sees no passage of BBL under Aquino).

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, September 9, 2015 – By coincidence, our urgent trip to Cotabato City last September 4 and the September 3 report of The Philippine Star that we downloaded that very night on returning from our trip exposed the neglect that is most evident in the sorry state of the Moro communities. In my trip, I saw the neglect. In the Star report, the neglect which breeds neglect surfaced in the plenary deliberation on SB 2894, the Senate substitute bill for the original Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, August 20, 2015 – The leaders of the Congress, the Palace and the President, especially, must heed the latest statements from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concerning the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

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If one wants to enjoy life, never spend it as a negotiator. Negotiation is never fun. It isn’t easy, as it is generally a trait that has to be developed rather than an inherited trait.