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MILF warns of heightened extremism if BBL passage is stalled anew

Updated

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) warned yesterday of a resurgence in extremism in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) if the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is stalled in Congress.

MILF Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim during the Senate BBL sub-committee consultation hearings at Camp Darapanan in Cotabato City on Thursday. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

MILF Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim during the Senate BBL sub-committee consultation hearings at Camp Darapanan in Cotabato City on Thursday.
(Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said there is a possibility of increased extremism in the region should the approval of the BBL be stalled anew.

“The more failure we face with the peace process, then expect that there will be more extremist groups,” Ebrahim said in a press briefing with senators in their headquarters in Camp Darapanan, this municipality, Thursday.

He cited that the failure of the government in forging peace agreements with rebel groups was the reason why terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) and Bangsamoro Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were formed.

He also attributed the attack of the Islamic State (IS)-affiliated Maute Group in Marawi City last year to the failure of the BBL during the previous administration.

“These groups exist and survive because they’re gaining support from the people. Because the people see that their grievances are not addressed,” Ebrahim said.

Ebrahim urged Congress, particularly the Senate to approve a BBL that is accepted by people in poverty-stricken ARMM, so that groups will die by a natural cause.

The MILF leader also said that it is high-time for the government to pass the BBL especially now that the IS is reportedly losing ground in the Middle East.

With Mindanao’s proximity to other Muslim countries in Asia, Ebrahim said it is not impossible for the Islamist insurgents to rebuild their troops here.

“The only solution for this is to get the support of a large majority of the people; to have a political solution in place that is accepted and supported by the people. Because if it is accepted by the people, these groups will not exist anymore. If they run out of support, they cannot survive,” he said.

The MILF, Ebrahim said, is optimistic that theBBL will hurdle Congress this time as officials under the Duterte administration, including the President, have aired their support for the measure.

Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito and Riza Hontiveros on Thursday visited the MILF headquarters in Camp Darapanan before the Senate subcommittee’s public hearing on BBL in Cotabato City.

Residents of Cotabato City and Sultan Kudarat lined the streets with flaglets and placards showing their support for the approval of the BBL that was based on the draft presented by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), a version crafted by the region’s representatives in coordination with the MILF.

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