MILF asks PNoy to certify BBL as urgent

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2015 05:37 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2015 07:33 PM

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief peace negotiator Mohager Iqbal. File Photo.

MANILA – Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief peace negotiator Mohager Iqbal called on President Aquino to certify the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as urgent as he and the government peace panel renew their pitch for Congress to pass the proposed measure.

''I see now the wisdom of certifying it as an urgent bill. Certifying a bill as urgent exempts it from the three-day rule or the requirement that bills are to be read three times on three separate days,'' Iqbal said.

''It would also mean that the House or the Senate could pass the BBL on 2nd and 3rd readings on the same day."

Iqbal likewise slammed the "so-called leaders of society and media practitioners who are making this reconciliation very difficult to succeed."

"It seems they want no less than we humiliate ourselves and bow in surrender to them."

Iqbal also gave assurances that the MILF will pursue the way of peace even if they do not get the BBL that they want.

At a press conference at the Lower House, Iqbal was asked what would the group do should lawmakers not restore the provisions they deleted but which the MILF wants restored.

"Ako naniniwala lalabas na batas magandang batas. Kapag hindi nangyari iyon, we will push the way of peace. There is only one way of peace,'' he said.

Both Iqbal and his government counterpart, Miriam Coronel Ferrer, pointed out that Congress can pass the BBL when it resumes sessions in November following a 3-week break that will begin next week. By that time, Congress will have dispensed with its current priority - the 2016 budget.

"We realize that two important matters have taken the front seat. Number 1 is the budget, which is also a very important annual bill. Number 2 itong pag-file ng candidacy,'' he said.

''We see no reason why come November when Congress returns for its next session kung bakit hindi pwedeng ma-priroitize ang pagpapasa ng BBL."

BBL debates in plenary have been delayed because not enough congressmen show up for sessions, forcing cancellations of sessions due to a lack of quorum. House leaders have previously said that congressmen who may be critical of the BBL would simply not show up in an attempt to derail the passage of the proposed measure.

Ferrer also told lawmakers that backing the BBL is not necessarily bad for their election prospects. She noted that a recent SWS survey shows that economic issues, and not the BBL are foremost among people's priorities.

Congressmen supportive of the BBL, Bai Sandra Sema and Sitti Hataman, also came to show their support for the BBL.

Lawmakers critical of the BBL have argued it has provisions that violate the Constitution.