Zamora sees long debates over Bangsamoro bill

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2014 07:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2014 03:44 AM

MANILA -- House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora said the government's peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) raises a lot of questions, raising the possibility of long debates once a bill for the Bangsamoro basic law is filed in Congress.

"Under the rules of the game, the HOR (House of Representatives) and Senate will have to come to an agreement. There are many questions left unanswered. We are not completely satisfied with whatever we have been reading regarding important things including territory, certain rights of non-Muslims in the areas of autonomy, certain reserves that are going to be protected, agreements between national government and the new regional government, many things we'd like to see," he said.

Zamora encouraged government not just to discard the concerns of outlying groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

He noted that the BIFF took a stand similar to the stand of the MILF back when the 1996 peace agreement with rival Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was signed.

"We're talking about Mindanao. What about larger concerns which is community of non-Muslims? Let's keep in mind Muslim Mindanao is part of a larger Mindanao territory and community. We want to make sure all Filipinos have their rights protected. That's what we intend to make sure and ensure once we get to the debates," he said.

A Bangsamoro basic law will have to be passed by Congress to implement the peace agreement with the MILF.