MANILA (Mabuhay) — The international community on Wednesday welcomed the latest step in the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress leaders.
Australia reaffirmed its support for the peace process, Ambassador Bill Tweddell said in a post on his Twitter account.
“Australia is committed to supporting pursuit for peace in Mindanao and welcomes mutually-acceptable Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress,” he said, after President Benigno Aquino III formally turned over copies of the draft law to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. in Malacañang.
The draft law’s transmittal to Congress signals the start of another crucial stage in the peace process, when the bill will go through the legislative mill and face lawmakers’ scrutiny.
Earlier, Australia said its development assistance program has been supporting peace efforts in conflict-affected Mindanao since 1995.
Tweddell, in his remarks at an Iftar reception last July 22, said Australia, via partner organizations, has focused on four key priorities:
increasing women’s participation in the peace process
promoting peace education among youth
increasing capacity of communities to better manage local level violence
providing technical assistance to the negotiating parties in various stages of the peace negotiations.
He also said Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced last January an additional $6 million funding in support of the peace process.
Meanwhile, Canada also welcomed the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“Canada welcomes the submission of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress. This and the pending substantive debate on the bill are important steps in the process aimed at achieving lasting peace and long-term prosperity in Mindanao,” said Canada’s Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder.
“Together with the international community, Canada remains committed to being an active partner in continuing our support for the establishment and implementation of the Bangsamoro,” he added. (MNS)