President Benigno S. Aquino III and His Excellency Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, witness as Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor signs in the Palace guest book at the Reception Hall of the Malacañan Palace for the Prime Minister’s Working Visit to the Philippines and to witness the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on Thursday (March 27).

President Benigno S. Aquino III and His Excellency Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, witness as Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor signs in the Palace guest book at the Reception Hall of the Malacañan Palace for the Prime Minister’s Working Visit to the Philippines and to witness the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on Thursday (March 27).

MANILA, Jan 28 (Mabuhay) — A partylist lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Tuesday lauded the conclusion of the negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, saying the move “is a crucial first step” towards the establishment of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

Akbayan Partylist Rep. Barry Gutierrez said completion of the Bangsamoro Framework is clear proof that both parties are committed in securing peace in the troubled region.

“We hope that this agreement will soon pave the way to ending decades of unrest, lay the foundation for a lasting peace, and lead to a sustainable growth and development for the people of the region,” he said

Last Saturday, the MILF and government peace panels signed the fourth and final annex to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro which would pave the way for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

However, Gutierrez said that restoring peace would require sustained efforts from both parties, noting that “there is still a long road to travel to reach our goals.”

Once the comprehensive agreement is signed the next step would be for a Transition Commission to draft a proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that would then be submitted to Congress.

Gutierrez expressed optimism that once submitted, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law would be immediately and swiftly taken up in the House of Representatives.

“We are ready in Congress to take up the challenge of providing the necessary legislative intervention that will give statutory ‘teeth’ to this historic agreement and flesh to the framework,” he stressed.

“We are prepared to work overtime to enact the measures needed to establish long-term stability, reconciliation and development in Mindanao,” Gutierrez said. (MNS)