Can we trust the MILF?

My take on the rage and the fears over this proposed law - By Raïssa Robles - It looks like the Philippine government is about to arrive at a momentous peace settlement and agreement with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Congress is likely to pass the the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which will put in place a new regional autonomous government with expanded revenue-making powers, a bigger purse and more say in running its own affairs. It’s a major stepping stone on the road to peace in Mindanao, which has been torn by war for decades. The BBL has met bitter opposition from some quarters. Opinion surveys show that many Filipinos are against the BBL. But what’s interesting is that recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys indicate that the opposition seems to be based on ignorant. Those respondents who knew nothing at all about the BBL are the ones most opposed to it. In fact, it seems most of the critics of the BBL have not bothered to read the BBL at all.

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I will not drop Sabah claim, President Aquino told me

Exclusive By Raïssa Robles President Benigno Aquino has categorically stated that he will not drop the Philippine claim to Sabah, contrary to what critics of his centerpiece legislation on Muslim autonomy – the Bangsamoro Basic Law – are saying. During my recent wide-ranging interview with him that lasted over two hours in Malacanang Palace, I asked President Aquino directly whether […]

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Hotmanila takes a closer look at China’s new islands in the South China West Philippine Sea

Thinking of the beaches, my hubby Alan was inspired to write something on the newest islands this side of the Pacific. Here's his take on the issue - What is China up to in the West Philippine Sea? - Hot Manila - By Alan Robles [Posted at 05/11/2015 1:27 PM at ABS-CBNNews.com]

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Watching people now watching the #PacquiaoMayweather fight – the Flight of the Century?

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Just my opinion by Raïssa Robles - I have a confession to make. I have never watched any of the fights of Manny Pacquiao, although I consider him a great boxer. And I've seen clips of his fight. I can't bear watching a blood sport, I guess. The frenzy, the excitement and the violence transports me back to the Roman times of the gladiators. Which is why the place where they are fighting now is so aptly named - the Arena.

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Mary Jane Veloso case shows urgent need for better ASEAN coordination against drug traffickers

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Just my opinion by Raïssa Robles - In the early morning hours when Mary Jane Veloso was supposed to be executed, I couldn’t sleep. I was kept awake thinking how she could have been saved by simple transnational police work on the day she was arrested. If only there was some kind of a mechanism, procedure or protocol among ASEAN countries that could have verified what Veloso had told airport security the day she was arrested.

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That certain smile

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Here's what Pres. Aquino said about smiling at the #SAF 44 commandos' wake - Exclusive by Raïssa Robles - When my request to interview President Aquino was unexpectedly granted last week, Malacañang Palace asked me, again, for a list of interview questions. I had submitted a list months ago, but apparently they wanted a new copy. I debated with myself whether I should take the opportunity to include something that had puzzled me for a long time. It had to do with his facial expression during dramatic, tense moments. It seemed in many of these moments he was smiling - some said smirking.

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Here’s my surprise – a 2-hour long exclusive interview with President Aquino

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Exclusive by Raïssa Robles - Suddenly last Thursday, I finally obtained an interview with President Aquino. Here is an excerpt from the first story on Vietnam and the Philippines that appeared today on the newly launched website of South China Morning Post.

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Dear Congressman Nograles, if you condemn MILF’s Iqbal for using an alias, condemn Senator Jinggoy and Mayor Estrada, too

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By Raïssa Robles - Critics of the Bangsamoro Basic Law are thinking up all excuses to stop its passage. The latest one is the funniest. Congressman Karlo Nograles demanded to know yesterday whether Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal has been using an alias in his passport. Nograles even warned that the use of aliases is in violation of two laws, one of which bars anyone from using pseudonyms in official documents.

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