MANILA – The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani reiterated the 57-nation Islamic group's support for the Bangsamoro during the 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers being held in Kuwait, the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said in a statement.


"Concerning the Philippines, the OIC has followed the peace process in Southern Philippines for over forty years - It has been encouraged on this track by the efforts currently being put in by the Government to have the historic Bangsamoro Basic Law bill adopted by the Congress in favor of the establishment of a self-rule region in the south,” Madani said as quoted by OPAPP.


Madani recently visited the Philippines and oversaw a meeting of the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF), a mechanism established to discuss issues and concerns concerning the Bangsamoro people. Madani also pronounced unequivocal support to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the BBL.


OPAPP said, a three-member delegation from the Government of the Philippines is attending the annual gathering of foreign ministers of Muslim countries on Wednesday. 


In the same gathering, the GPH renewed its request to the OIC to complete the tripartite review process of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). 


“[W]e are requesting the OIC to complete the review process prior to the ratification of the BBL and journey with us towards the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region while along the road we complete the implementation of the previous peace agreement,” said National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao in a statement read during one of the sessions.


Busran-Lao is joined by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Jose Lorena and Undersecretary Rafael Seguis of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as part of the official Philippine delegation to the annual meeting. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chair Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim is also attending as representative of the Bangsamoro people.


Busran-Lao reiterated that the engagement with the MNLF would not end once the review process was completed. “The BBL offers a convergence of the two Moro peace processes, with the MNLF and the MILF. It clearly builds upon the gains of the previous peace accords introducing provisions that will ensure a more genuine autonomy within the framework of the Philippine territorial integrity and sovereignty.”


The NCMF secretary also explained that the BBL, now re-named in the House of Representatives' amended draft as the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, would address the three remaining issues raised by the MNLF, namely the establishment of a provisional government; the expansion of territory; and sharing on minerals.


Once the proposed law is ratified in a plebiscite, members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will be appointed to ensure a smooth transition from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the new political entity. “Members of the Transition Authority shall be appointed by the President and we can be assured that the President shall appoint MILF and MNLF leaders as BTA members,” said Busran-Lao who also serves as a member of the GPH peace panel in talks with the MILF.


With regard territorial expansion, the substitute bill approved by the Congress ad hoc committee provides for an opt-in provision for “any local government unit or geographic area outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro but which are contiguous to any of the component units of the Bangsamoro and within the area of autonomy identified in the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.”

The proposed measure also revised the wealth-sharing arrangement between the national government and the would-be Bangsamoro government in favor of the latter.


The GPH delegation also highlighted the country's application for Observer status in the OIC to "strengthen the cooperation between the Philippines and the OIC in bringing about lasting peace and inclusive development in Mindanao."


Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are continuing its deliberation on the draft Bangsamoro law.