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PNoy to peace advocates: Redouble efforts vs. spoilers while awaiting BBL

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday called on peace advocates to “redouble” their efforts against those who want to spoil the peace process as the fate of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) hangs in Congress.

“There will be the spoilers who will want to exploit the current difficulties to show that… gaining what they want through violent means is the only way to go about it,” Aquino said in a forum organized by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“So those of us who are advocating peace should really even redouble our efforts to thwart these groups who would want us to plunge again into really a pointless conflict,” he added.  

Aquino said Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. both “expressed confidence” that the proposed Bangsamoro law will pass Congress despite “some of the difficulties.”

Both the Senate and House of Representatives have yet to finish their plenary deliberations on their respective versions of the BBL, which embodies the peace agreement signed by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Aquino said his government will continue to lobby for a Bangsamoro law despite the lack of time to have it enacted.

“We will continue to lobby with members of Congress to pass the law during our watch and pass it at the earliest possible time,” he said.

He said the BBL is among the 25 legislative priorities of his administration, which also includes the freedom of information (FOI) bill.

On the FOI, which guarantees government transparency if passed, Aquino said it’s now up to Congress to deliberate on it.

“We submitted out position. We can live with a version based on the amendments. The question should be brought to Congress rather than us,” he said.

The Senate has already approved its version of the FOI, while the House of Representatives have yet to pass its version on second reading. —KBK, GMA News