BBL is the most appropriate path toward peace and development in Mindanao: Pres. Aquino

Reiterating his commitment to the peace process in Mindanao, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Monday, "Even though our Congress failed to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), our position on the BBL remains: It is still the most appropriate path toward peace and development in Mindanao."

President Aquino gave his statement prior to his departure to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-United States (ASEAN-US) Summit in California.

The event which aims to deepen and strengthen the joint strategic partnership between the ASEAN and the United States of America is first of its kind to be held in the US soil.

"This is indeed the last ASEAN Summit that I will attend as the President of the Philippines. This is also the last time that I can share with my fellow ASEAN leaders our resolve to this peace process, that is our contribution in responding to the issues of extremism and lack of stability," Pres. Aquino said.

The two Chambers of Philippine Congress went on recess last February 5 without passing the BBL, a measure that would have paved way for the establishment of autonomous Bangsamoro region that will replace the current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

If realized, the new Bangsamoro entity would have a parliamentary regional government vested with more political and fiscal powers.

Despite the failure of the lawmakers to pass the BBL, the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panels reaffirmed their commitment to the peace process and to preserve the gains of the 17 years peace negotiations.

Representatives from other countries who are part of the peace structures and mechanisms backing up the Bangsamoro peace process likewise support the perseverance of the government and the MILF in achieving peaceful resolve to Mindanao problem.

The Front disclosed there is a widespread frustration among the Bangsamoro people brought by the non-passage of the BBL.  Its leaders tell their people not to be disheartened and be patient.

The MILF is hopeful that the next administration will implement the peace agreement by passing a Bangsamoro law compliant to the CAB in letter and in spirit.