OIC concern about delay of BBL passage

COTABATO CITY, Philippines, December 13 — Leaders of the powerful Organization of Islamic Cooperation expressed grave concern on the latest development of the peace process in Mindanao, particularly the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law which will give Muslims autonomy in the restive south.

Iyad Ameen Madani, secretary general of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, formerly the Organization of Islamic Conference, was worried about the difficulties facing the BBL in the Philippines parliament, particularly the substantial amendments to the BBL which constitute drastic modification to the original agreement.

He said in statement obtained by the Mindanao Post on December 12 these amendments restore the National Government control over many areas and they actually reduce the Bangsamoro Government to an entity similar to an ordinary local government unit. 

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was signed on 27th March 2014 is now being threatened. 

President Benigno Aquino III described it as a real genuine seal of lasting peace in Mindanao promised to usher in a new era of peace after decades of war, displacement, misery and destitution.

Madani said they strongly supports the President of the Philippines in his efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in Mindanao including the passage of the agreed version of the BBL, and calls upon all concerned to support these efforts. 

“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation urges the Philippines authorities, in particular the law makers, who share the common goal at working for peace and stability, not to let this historical moment becomes another lost opportunity,” Madani said.

He added the OIC, which has been engaged with the peace process in Southern Philippines since its inception, calls upon all concerned to work hand in hand to ensure that the final BBL will ensure the “concept of exclusivity of the powers of the Bangsamoro political entity” as agreed upon in the CAB.

“We urge the government of Philippines and the law makers to ensure that the BBL, which is now pending before the parliament, will not come out different from the original BBL,” he said.

At the same time, the OIC also urged leaders of both the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the MILF to consolidate their coordination and cooperation through the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) and to engage other stakeholders in order to close ranks and strengthen and consolidate their cooperation and unity and maintain their peaceful struggle for the common cause. 

On Saturday, the MILF and MNLF held a unification and reconciliation meeting in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao where they agreed to continue pushing for the BBL even in the next administration.
Madani called upon the development agencies of the OIC and other International bodies to continue their rehabilitation and development programs in the region. 

The preparation for holding a meeting of the Tripartite Review Process on the implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement and linking and converging of the two previous peace agreements with the Bangsamoro Basic Law is underway. 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation will continue its efforts for peace in Mindanao and will continue monitoring the situation closely until our efforts lead us to the real dawn of peace and stability and a final end to the long struggle of the Bangsamoro people. (End)

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