Duterte to MILF: BBL still a priority

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has personally assured the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that the passage of the proposed Bangamoro Basic Law (BBL) is an administration priority.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press conference on Tuesday, September 5, that the President gave the assurance to the MILF leadership during a meeting in Malacañang on Monday, September 4.

"PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) assures MILF and the Moro people that BBL is an executive priority bill," said Abella.

During the meeting, Duterte told MILF leaders that he intends to speak with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez about the passage of the BBL.

The MILF had earlier accused the Duterte administration of "non-compliance" with signed peace agreements.

In an official statement posted on its website, luwaran.com, the MILF pointed out that no lawmaker has sponsored the proposed BBL and that it was not among the 28 priority legislative measures of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac).

During the meeting, Duterte raised his own concerns about these criticisms from the MILF.

"PRRD met with leadership of  MILF yesterday to discuss, among others, their social media posts critical of their handling and the progress of the BBL bill," said Abella.

The President also relayed his gratitude to the Moro separatist group for its support to the fight against Muslim extremism and terrorism, and its help in humanitarian efforts in Marawi.

The MILF maintains that the passage of the BBL is the only long-term solution to the violence in Mindanao. Duterte, the first Mindanaoan president, has also said the BBL or federalism is the only way to bring peace to the troubled region. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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