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“As a result of the failure of government, particularly Congress to pass the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), there is widespread frustration on the ground by our (Bangsamoro) people and members of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front),” Mohager Iqbal, MILF Peace Panel Chairman disclosed in his opening statement in a meeting with the Government of the Philippines (GPH) Peace Panel at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 10-11, 2016.

After the non-passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the 16th Congress, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels met today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a two-day meeting, PDI said in its report. 

Through the active involvement of community leaders and peace advocates in Zamboanga City West Coast area, the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) conducted a two-day Seminar Workshop on Community Organizing and Leadership in Islamic perspective .The activity was held at Asta Moro Madrasa, Tulungatung, Zamboanga City on February 8-9. 2016 

Abdullah Zawawi Tahir, Malaysian Consul General urged Muslims in Mindanao during the 5th Maguindanao Sagayan Festival at Buluan, Maguindanao not to take non passage of draft Bangsamoro Law under the Aquino Administration negatively”, PDI said in its report today.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said yesterday, February 7 that, “The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) does not expect falling out with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) despite failure of congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)”, Philstar said in its report.

Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said during the Kapehan sa Region-12 program of the Philippine Information Agency at the Bishop's Palace in Cotabato City on February 4, that the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano encounter seemed to have taken its toll on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that it virtually changed the game as biases and prejudices erupted between Christians and Muslims, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao reported.

There are many explanations advanced by several quarters why the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) did not pass Congress. The most common, almost unanimous, reason was the Mamasapano incident that caused the deaths of 44 elite Police commandos, 17 MILF combatants, and five civilians including a child. The second reason forwarded was the lack of material time and the third was the proposed basic law contained so many unconstitutional provisions.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has fallen on the wayside. Congress has snuffed its life, citing various, if not shallow, reasons. Lack of time is merely an alibi; other laws including the National Appropriation Bill passed without much hassle. Even if there was no quorum especially in the Lower House, deliberations proceeded. The Mamasapano outcry is expected. We sympathized with the families of all those who have died as a result of the tragic incident.

Anything that promotes the well-being of the people is part of the grand agenda of the MILF, being a people-based revolutionary movement. Serving the people is one of our reasons why we exist. We do not want them to suffer and everything we undertake has their interests as primordial consideration. Having light in every home is a basic necessity. People must not be deprived of it. At all times, this must be sought. But securing the transmission lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for people to continue access to power can well be a recommended act. But for the MILF to simply announce that we commit to help secure these lines is more problematic than what meets the eye. Both the short and long term implications and complications have far-reaching effects.

This is it. We are at the threshold of history. Are we going forward to peace or shall we again miss the bus of peace and prosperity?

The Manila Times has carried a report that the faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) based in Basilan had officially affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The article was based on a video released by the group, showing more than 30 armed militants led by Isnilon Hapilon, also known as Abu Abdullah, declaring their loyalty to the ISIS.

Thirteen civilians were reported to have died late last month as a result of the offensive initiated by so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group of the MILF. Eight of the civilians were from Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, all Christians, and the others from the towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Abdullah Sangki, both in Maguindanao.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, February 11, 2016 – Bangsamoro is stalled. The BBL that would have launched it by June 30, 2016 had been disabled early in the Congress and substituted with the BLBAR. But, BLBAR had failed to take off when the Congress adjourned last February 5. Whether Bangsamoro can be relaunched during the next administration hinges on how Moro-friendly would be the next President and the non-Moro members of the 17th Congress.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, January 25, 2016 – “A-DL” is Anti-Dynasty Law; “FOIL” is Freedom of Information Law. BBL is the original Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. All three are still bills marooned in the 16th Congress. As BBL has been debased and pining for redemption and passage, A-DL and FOIL, long resigned to their fate, are comforting it: “Hindi ka nag-iisa” (You are not alone.)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, January 14, 2016 – No matter how unacceptable, let it be stated simply: The Bangsamor is banished indefinitely. This is seen through prevailing circumstances that look irreversible. This is squarely facing the fact. Let’s hope, though, that by a miraculous stroke of fate, the statement is proven wrong.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, December 19, 2015 – The Philippine Star (December 16, 2015: House drops opt-in provision from BBL) reported the House of Representatives “has decided to delete the controversial opt-in provision from the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a move to lessen opposition to the measure.” 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 Dec) – MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal is right, “If you look at the process, it looks like they (the Congress)can no longer deliver . … I’m no longer optimistic.”He said this during the media roundtable discussion at the University of the Philippines (Visayas) in Iloilo City last December 4 (MindaNews, December 6 2015: MILF’s Iqbal sees no passage of BBL under Aquino).

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, September 9, 2015 – By coincidence, our urgent trip to Cotabato City last September 4 and the September 3 report of The Philippine Star that we downloaded that very night on returning from our trip exposed the neglect that is most evident in the sorry state of the Moro communities. In my trip, I saw the neglect. In the Star report, the neglect which breeds neglect surfaced in the plenary deliberation on SB 2894, the Senate substitute bill for the original Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.

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If one wants to enjoy life, never spend it as a negotiator. Negotiation is never fun. It isn’t easy, as it is generally a trait that has to be developed rather than an inherited trait.