Jaafar: Duterte promised BBL approval

Trisha Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2016 08:50 PM | Updated as of Jun 15 2016 01:52 AM

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wants the next administration to prioritize the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before it pushes for a government shift to federalism.

MILF Vice-chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar told ANC's Dateline Philippines on Tuesday that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte himself has vowed to implement the Bangsamoro government through the enactment of the BBL.

"Ang commitment ng Pangulong Duterte ay una niya itong, una siyang nag-commit sa implementation ng Bangsamoro government sa pamamagitan ng pagiging batas ng Bangsamoro law nung siya ay nagpunta sa Darapanan during the campaign period," he said.

"Nangako siya sa mga Moro sa pamamagitan ng MILF na kanyang sisikapin na maipatupad ito at muli itong binanggit sa akin noong ako’y nakipagkita sa kanya on my label, capacity as a private citizen, at bilang kaibigan niya at matagal na kakilala, at bilang isa sa mga lider ng mga Bangsamoro," he added.

Speaking on behalf of the Moro people, Jaafar said, it is "logical and reasonable" for them to have their separate government and establish peace in Mindanao.

He said they would prefer that the BBL be prioritized over the shift to federalism because the latter would entail a longer process.

"As far as we are concerned, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, gusto naming na mas mauuna ang pagpapatupad sa Bangsamoro government kaysa Philippine federalism kung sakaling ito’y aprubahan ng Congress of the Philippines...Isa sa pangunahing dahilan namin ay pagkat nakikita namin medyo may katagalan ng kaunti ang pagpapatupad sa Federal Philippines," he said.

Jaafar is also eyeing a roadmap from the Duterte administration for the passage of the BBL, saying the Moro people want the law passed as soon as possible, but they understand that there is a process of legislation it must go through.

It is no secret that the MILF was frustrated that the BBL did not pass during the term of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III.

Jaafar said they were optimistic at the start of Aquino's presidency that the Bangsamoro issue will finally be resolved, and the MILF along with the other Moro leaders persevered to have the bill passed.

The BBL's non-passage, he said, caused frustration among the Moro people, especially the youth.

"I believe they pinned their hope to the administration of President Aquino that the Bangsamoro issue will be resolved once and for all. Pero hindi nga nangyari at yan ang dahil kung bakit frustrated ang marami sa mga Bangsamoro people," he said.

But with the first President from Mindanao assuming office, a new hope blooms for them.

"I think marami sa mga Bangsamoro people, masaya sapagkat ang President ngayon ay taga-Mindanao at alam nila na alam niya ang situation sa Mindanao. He’s living here in Mindanao, at I think kino-consider niya ang sarili bilang isa rin sa mga Bangsamoro people," he said.

"At naniniwala kami at marami pang mga Bangsamoro leaders at Bangsamoro people, na ito’y pagtuunan niya ng panahon at pansin para once and for all, mabigyan ng solution ang Bangsamoro issue sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatupad sa Bangsamoro government," he added.

MILF CONDEMNS ABU SAYYAF BEHEADING

Jaafar, meanwhile, condemned the Abu Sayyaf Group's beheading of Canadian Robert Hall.

He claimed that if the BBL been in place, the Bangsamoro government could have intervened and prevented such incidents.

"Naniniwala kami na pag andyan ang Bangsamoro government at pinapatupad ito, ma-address nito ang marami sa mga problema ngayon sa Mindanao, lalong lalo na sa Bangsamoro area," he said.