Bangsamoro law '85 percent' compliant with peace deal, says Iqbal

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2018 08:39 AM

MANILA - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday said it is extremely happy with the version of the the Bangsamoro Organic Law that passed Congress.

Mohagher Iqbal, the former chief MILF negotiator, said the version of the law that hurdled Congress is at least 85-percent compliant with the 2014 peace deal between their group and the government.

"On a personal note, I think the compliance of the law that was passed in the bicameral conference committee is 85 percent to 90 percent. But as to the final assessment, that will be the decision of the leadership of the MILF," he told ANC.

Iqbal added the MILF is "extremely happy" with the version of the law that will create a Bangsamoro entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The MILF official, meanwhile, said they are hoping to finish the decommissioning of arms, which is also part of the peace agreement, on or before 2022.

"The process has started a long time ago. Now that BBL has been passed, there would be formal arrangement with the first 30 percent [of the arms]," he said.

Despite some opposition from groups, Iqbal said he is optimistic that the law will be supported by the Bangsamoro people when it comes to a plebiscite by November.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier certified the measure as urgent, is expected to sign the Bangsamoro Organic Law before his third State of the Nation Address on July 23.

Duterte's predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino, forged the peace agreement with the MILF but failed to get Congress to pass the BBL before he stepped down in 2016.