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Aquino, MILF chief Murad to meet before SONA to resolve issues on Bangsamoro Basic Law

Posted On 2014 Jul 24
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President Benigno S. Aquino III addresses the nation during the Press Briefing at the Heroes Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Monday(July 14, 2014). (Photo by: Robert Viñas/ Malacañang Photo Bureau).

President Benigno S. Aquino III addresses the nation during the Press Briefing at the Heroes Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Monday(July 14, 2014). (Photo by: Robert Viñas/ Malacañang Photo Bureau).

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III is scheduled to meet with Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim this week before the chief executive delivers his State of the Nation Address on July 28.

“If the meeting pushes through, it will give an opportunity to both leaders to thresh out issues and concerns, and hopefully this will lead to a meeting of the minds,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a briefing aired over state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Tuesday.

Coloma, however, said there is no definite word yet as to when and where the meeting will take place.

The MILF, in its website, confirmed the upcoming meeting.

“The meeting is necessary in threshing out issues confronting both sides on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, an enabling act for the establishment of Bangsamoro new autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao. The purpose of the proposed meeting is to save the peace process in the light of major alterations made by Malacañang legal team on the draft BBL,” the MILF said.

Last month, Aquino and Murad briefly discussed the delay in the submission of the draft BBL when the two met at the sidelines of a peace conference in Hiroshima, Japan.

It was in Hiroshima that Aquino proposed to Murad to have another meeting.

In a statement, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said it will no longer be possible to submit the draft BBL to Congress on July 28.

“There continue to be significant points of differences between the parties,” she said.

“The government stands firm that we want a BBL that can withstand political and legal scrutiny and be acceptable to various stakeholders, and the nation as a whole. We will not and cannot move forward in the roadmap toward the establishment of the Bangsamoro unless we hurdle this crucial stage.”

“It is very clear we cannot overstep the boundaries of the Constitution,” Coronel-Ferrer added.

She said that for the provisions that would require changes in the 1987 Constitution, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission has been given the mandate to make the necessary recommendations, but these cannot be included in the draft BBL.

“All of us want the BBL draft to be submitted to Congress as soon as possible. But we cannot substitute haste with prudence. Whatever delay we are experiencing now is intended to avoid further difficulties after the bill is submitted to Congress.” she said. (MNS)

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