Iqbal rues removal of BBL's 'soul'

By Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 16 2015 01:29 AM | Updated as of Aug 16 2015 10:39 AM

MANILA -- Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said Senator Bongbong Marcos' committee's version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is like a person with no soul.

In an interview on dzMM, Iqbal lamented that Marcos' version of the BBL took away around a hundred provisions, as well as the proposed measure's preamble.

"Mas marami po 'yung tinaggal doon kay Bongbong Marcos. 'Yung sa House po, kung ako ang tatanungin, quantity, kung bilangin mo lahat ng provisions... siguro 50 percent ang tinanggal nila. Pero itong kay Bongbong Marcos, sobrang 100 nga ang inalis eh," he said.

"Isa diyan ang preamble. Tinanggal din niya. And so, hindi ko masyadong alam kung ano ba talaga ang ibig sabihin 'nun. Kumbaga sa tao, nawalan ng kaluluwa. Kasi 'yung preamble po, that's the soul of the law," he added.

He said while lawmakers have the power to make amendments to the proposed measure, they must still respect the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

"Ibig sabihin dahil sa kanila ang plenary power, so siyempre hindi mo sila mapigilan na they will exercise that power. However, 'yun na nga, naka-base ito sa agreement, so it is in essence, legislated agreement po ito. Ibig sabihin, dahil doon, ang paninindigan ng MILF 'yung orginal na BBL, on the basis of the letter and spirit of the FAB and the CAB," Iqbal said, referring to the framework and comprehensive agreements on the Bangsamoro.

Iqbal likewise appealed to the lawmakers to improve the BBL instead of watering down the proposed measure, which will establish an autonomous region in Mindanao.

"We realized that Congress has the plenary power, therefore, what we appeal to them is i-improve nila at i-enhance nila. Huwag i-water down. Kasi kapag iwa-water down po 'yan, wala hong mangyayari doon sa BBL na 'yan at hindi maresolba ang problema sa Mindanao," he said.

Iqbal also likened the BBL to a "medicine" for Mindanao's "illness.'' He said changing this will not help cure the illness.

"Kumbaga sa sakit, na-diagnose na ang problema. Seventeen years na 'yung pag-uuusap namin, nagka-pirmahan, and then, dapat eh 'yung magiging gamot dun eh kung ano 'yung sinasabi ng doktor na nag-diagnose. Kung ibang gamot po ang gagamitin natin, eh hindi maso-solve ang problema dito sa Mindanao."

Marcos has said the changes he introduced in his committee's substitute bill will ensure that the proposed measure will stand legal scrutiny. He added his committee's version also addresses complaints that the draft BBL of the MILF and the Palace was not inclusive.