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ASIA >MILF submits new Bangsamoro law to Duterte

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines

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REUTERS photo

REUTERS photo

President Rodrigo Duterte received a draft law by the Moro rebel group on July 17, in an important step to broker peace in the southeast Asian country.        

The rebel group submitted the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at the presidential office in capital Manila.        
The BBL was part of a peace agreement signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014. It proposes an autonomous Bangsamoro region, replacing the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.        

Duterte committed to support the bill which lawmakers will vote on, and vowed to establish greater autonomy in the region under his term.      

Irene Santiago, peace negotiator for the government, said, “People in the Congress will vote for or against the bill. It's really getting people involved in peace so that it won't be just the interest of the MILF and the
government.”        

Mohagher Iqbal, who represented the rebel group during the talks, welcomed the peace negotiation and called it an “antidote for the dismemberment of Philippines”.        

"If the Bangsamoro people are given the opportunity to rule themselves, they will succeed in this country," he said.        

A clash in January 2015 in central Mindanao had derailed the passage of the law, after 44 policemen, 17 rebel fighters and some civilians were killed.        

The proposed law has been facing constitutional challenges such as Bangsamoro's total control on agriculture, food, trade, banking and education, which opposition leaders claim will reduce the authority of the Philippine government.        

The Moro rebel group active in southern Philippines demands an autonomous region, for its predominantly Muslim Moro people.          

July/17/2017

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