Gov't downplays fears of impasse in Bangsamoro law

Posted at 07/23/2014 3:33 PM | Updated as of 07/23/2014 9:34 PM

MANILA - Government peace panel head Miriam Coronel-Ferrer downplayed fears the process of crafting a mutually acceptable Bangsamoro Basic Law has hit an impasse.

This comes after both sides admitted to having significant differences on the draft of the law.

Speaking to "Mornings @ ANC" on Wednesday, Ferrer said some of those points have already been threshed out at meetings in Kuala Lumpur and Manila earlier this month.

She appealed to the public and all stakeholders to give the panels a few more weeks to settle the remaining issues.

"We have also sorted out a good number of items, so we're sort of down to the most difficult ones," she said.

"There are several considerations. One, of course, is this is a law that will be passed by Congress. We need to make sure there are no gaps or holes there that people who will scrutinize it on the bases of the Constitution will use to further derail the process," she added.

Ferrer said it may be difficult to amend the Constitution between now and 2016 to institutionalize certain aspects of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

But she is not ruling out the possibility that charter amendments may be recommended after 2016.

"Our roadmap says that we pass this basic law in Congress, put in place a Bangsamoro transitional authority, hold the first elections for the Bangsamoro government in 2016. But recommendations for future charter change can certainly be pursued afterwards. The advantage there is that you already have a good foundation, a new government structure in place," she said.

Ferrer reiterated the Aquino government's commitment to pursuing peace and development in Mindanao.

She also highlighted the peace process' significance given the backdrop of tumultuous events in other parts of the globe.

"Nobody wants to go back to war. We've heard the news earlier. There's war in Libya. Filipinos are affected in Gaza strip. There's this big trouble in Syria and Iraq. We don't want more Filipinos being affected by any war. We don't want collateral damage happening such as what happened to the Malaysian Airline flying over Ukraine airspace."

"These are very clear messages to us. This process has been some kind of a bright spot in this world trying to find solutions to all of these conflicts," Ferrer added.

President Benigno Aquino III and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim hope to discuss outstanding issues when they meet again before the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

ANC tried to get the side of the MILF officials, but they are inaccessible at this time. -- ANC