NCMF reiterates BBL support, calls on Congress to pass measure

QUEZON CITY – In an en banc resolution, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) has expressed anew its support for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and urged the two chambers of Congress to pass the measure before it goes on Christmas recess this coming week.
“The Bangsamoro people saw a silver lining of finally achieving peace when the administration of President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Simeon C. Aquino III initiated and certified as urgent House Bill No. 4994, the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” read the resolution that was signed by NCMF Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao together with the agency’s commissioners.
“The Commission, through a referendum called for the purpose, resolves as it [is] hereby resolved supporting the Bangsamoro Basic Law, appealing to both [H]ouses of Congress to fast track its passage into law,” continued the declaration.
NCMF, similar to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), is directly under the supervision of the Office of the President. Its current secretary serves as ex-officio member of the government negotiating panel for talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The proposed BBL was originally transmitted to both the House of Representatives and the Senate in September 2014. Until today, the bill remains to be passed due to chronic absenteeism at the lower House and the sluggish pace of deliberations in the Senate.
NCMF argued that when passed, the BBL would provide the people of the Bangsamoro with the peace they deserve and have been fighting for in decades.
“Peace has been very elusive to the Bangsamoro people, the road, despite having been paved with the blood of so many innocent casualties of the armed conflict in Mindanao, seems not to lead to the objective of having a just and lasting peace.”
“We now face a crucial choice that will determine our future as a nation: whether we want peace or war; whether we want progress or poverty; whether we want justice or injustice. Our choice is clear, but we know that there are still challenges ahead—and yet we are certain that there is nothing we cannot overcome if we remain one and united in our quest for peace and progress,” Busran-Lao said earlier of the stalled Bangsamoro peace process.
Last week, President Aquino met with members of the House of Representatives in a continuing effort to pass the BBL before the Congress goes on break on 19 December. The meeting seemed to have hit a chord among lawmakers as deliberations on the legislative measure proceeded the following day.
Congress only has three days -- December 14 to 16 to pass the BBL prior to its scheduled adjournment for 2015. Resumption of sessions in 2016 will be on January 19 to February 5.