“Without the BBL, the CAB will never be fully implemented”: Iqbal 

“We are all agreed that without the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), the CAB will never be fully implemented,” Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel Mohagher Iqbal stressed in his message during the commemoration of the 2nd  Anniversary of the signing of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) yesterday, March 28, at the Notre Dame University Gym, Cotabato City.

He added, “While some aspects of CAB can be started, yet we will never agree that we just only observe the ceasefire and socio-economic initiatives without seeing the fulfilment of the political track.”

 “Without the BBL, the CAB can never become the solution to the Bangsamoro Problem or Question,” Iqbal further said.

The event with the theme “Stand Up for Peace, Long Live the CAB” was sponsored by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) headed by Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles who also graced the occasion.

Chairman Iqbal’s counterpart, Government of the Philippines (GPH) Peace Panel Chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer was also present.

Representatives from various peace structures that support the peace process were present in the occasion. Among those were the members of the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), International Monitoring Team (IMT), Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), Commissioners and some staff of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC),  FASTRAC, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), various INGO’s and NGO’s, and other prominent peace stakeholders.

The CAB, which provides the enactment of the BBL by the Philippine Congress, was signed by the two parties on March 27, 2014 at Kalayaan Garden, Malacañan Palace in Manila.

“There are people who see no need to commemorate the CAB over the non-passage of the BBL by the 16th Philippine Congress,” Iqbal said.

“For them, the non-passage of BBL totally diminishes the value of the CAB,” the MILF chief negotiator further said and added, “There may be germ of truth to this opinion.”

Iqbal made a sharp criticism against those he described as “vested interests groups” who are “insatiable with wealth and power and enslaved by religious bigotry” that caused the defeat of the BBL in Congress.

The 16th Congress adjourned its session on February without passing the BBL that would have paved way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity called “Bangsamoro” aimed at ending the decades-old conflict in Southern Philippines.

“It was the BLBAR (Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region) that died, not the BBL that is based on the CAB.” Iqbal explained.

BLBAR is the diluted version of the BBL introduced in the Philippine Congress. The MILF leadership had earlier said it will not accept a diluted Bangsamoro law for it will not resolve the Moro problem.

In previous speaking engagements, Iqbal said the MILF will ask the next administration to pass the BBL that is compliant to the CAB.

Earlier in her message, Coronel-Ferrer acknowledged the contributions of various ceasefire mechanisms such as the CCCH, AHJAG, IMT, among others.

At the later part of the program, Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to members of groups or committees created in support to GPH-MILF Peace Process.