Gov't admits 'gray areas' in draft Bangsamoro law

Posted at 07/07/14 6:31 PM

MANILA – The government’s chief peace negotiator, Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, admitted there are gray zones that have hampered the finalization of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Ferrer said these gray zones will be sorted out in a workshop between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) representatives in Malaysia this week.

"On the other hand, details or aspects beyond the signed documents are policy options that the [transition commission] has taken and which the [Office of the President] team took care to study and uphold as much as possible. But as in any legislation, there are various ramifications to any single text, or gaps that might not have appeared at first instance. The Kuala Lumpur workshop will help sort out these gray zones,” she said.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said Malacanang sent back to him a “diluted” draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Iqbal, who is also the chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), said the copy bore the "remarks and comments from the OP (Office of the President), which heavily diluted the original proposal coming from the BTC."

Ferrer said, however, that the government only wants make sure the law will pass muster.

“If we are going through this difficulty now, it is because we want the next stages to be less difficult not only between the government and the MILF, but among all the institutions and actors that will be or have been playing a role in the process.”

She said a well-processed bill will pass both in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

For his part, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, "We are taking necessary steps to ensure better understanding of their concerns and to find a good resolution through frank and open discussion. And yes, we intend to file the Bangsamoro Basic Law before the SONA [State of the Nation Address]. We will submit a Bangsamoro Basic Law draft which has been fully threshed out by both parties."

Lacierda did not say what those gray zones are.

“We don't have the contents. And the reasons, obviously, they differ on the wordings. But insofar as what those contents are, that's being addressed. But I'm not familiar with those contents."