EU hails enactment of Bangsamoro law as opportunity for peace

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2018 04:18 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte (center) poses with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza (left), Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim (2nd left), chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Ghazali Jaafar (2nd R), vice-chairman of the MILF and Mohagher Iqbal (right) on July 17, 2017. Ted Ajibe, Agence France-Presse/File

MANILA - The Bangsamoro Organic Law represents a chance for peace for Filipinos, a spokesperson for the European Union's Foreign Affairs and Security Policy unit said Friday.

The passage of the law and President Rodrigo Duterte's signing "represents an opportunity for the Filipino people to embrace peace and stability after decades of strife," said Maja Kocijancic.

The law was a fruit of 21 years of talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said Kocijancic. The MILF is the the country's largest Muslim rebel group.

"All those involved in the negotiation and adoption of this law have undertaken important work to bring stability and well-being to the people of Mindanao," she said in a statement.

The EU has long supported the Mindanao peace process and has pursued projects on the ground to support Muslim communities.

Kocijancic said the EU remains a "staunch supporter of the Mindanao Peace Process" and is prepared to support the implementation of the Bangsamoro law "in view of long-lasting peace, development and prosperity in Mindanao and for the Filipino people."

The EU had earlier vowed to continue supporting the Philippines despite the Duterte administration's rejection of conditional aid from the bloc over criticism of the President's drug war.

Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law on Thursday, meeting a self-imposed deadline.

This fulfills a key requirement under a 2014 peace deal between the government and the MILF for a law that will grant wider self-rule to the Muslim minority in Mindanao.