Bangsamoro (MNS Photo)

Bangsamoro (MNS Photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The House of Representatives on Wednesday conducted its first committee hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro basic law, which seeks to implement the signed peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Present for the ad hoc committee hearing are Presidential Adviser for Peace Process Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles, government peace panel chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.

In his speech before the committee, Iqbal said Congress should not be afraid and instead be hopeful about the proposed law that seeks to create a Bangsamoro political entity replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“Let us warn you of people who would want to sow fear instead of hope in your hearts and in the hearts of the Filipino people. Their aim is to stop the establishment of the Bangsamoro and for this, they will take advantage of the deeply held biases and prejudices of the people,” Iqbal said.

“They will use words like ‘dismemberment of the Republic,’ ‘sell-out,’ ‘violation of the Constitution,’ ‘surrender,’ ‘state within the state,’ and even a ‘ploy for eventual independence,’” he added.

“To all of these, we say: Be not afraid. To the Filipino people: Be not afraid,” Iqbal said.

He clarified that the Bansamoro state is not a state within a state.

“Instead of dismemberment of the Republic, the Bangsamoro will further unite our peoples. There shall be no state within a state. The Philippine state shall remain sovereign. We only asked that we be allowed to govern ourselves,” Iqbal said.

“You shall see the Philippine flag and hear the national anthem sung in our schools and offices,” he added. (MNS)