National Network for Social Development
lauds the submission of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law
After more than a year since the 16th Congress failed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), it looks like that the GPH-MILF peace table is now moving.
Last Monday, July 17, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) finally handed over the revised draft of the proposed BBL to President Rodrigo Duterte in a ceremony attended by the Chairman of the Commission, the peace panels, and members of the BTC. The said draft seeks to create a new Bangsamoro region in Mindanao that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The document is expected to be submitted by the Office of the President to both the House of Representatives and the Senate anytime soon for review and ratification.
"We are happy that the draft document is finally out. We have been closely monitoring the development in this peace table and we have been worried since it was moving rather slow when the new government assumed office. We recognize the challenges and attempts to make the process more inclusive for all stakeholders. We laud the effort of the BTC to agree on this version and submit it within the timetable. We hope this be acceptable to all parties where protection, promotion, and fulfillment of rights and recognition of fundamental freedoms are given importance”, Yoly Esguerra, the National Coordinator of the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) said.
Esguerra however said “The next hurdle will be in the halls of the law-making bodies which did not succeed to pass the draft BBL during the 16th congress. We trust that the promise and purported resolve of the President will overpower and transcend the vested interest groups that want this effort to fail”.
Hope Amidst Crisis
Amidst the crisis in Marawi and the declaration of Martial Law that resulted to the displacement of more than a hundred thousand individuals and the destruction of one of Mindanao's center of economic activities, the submission of the draft BBL gives new hope to our Moro brothers and sisters in Mindanao.
According to Esguerra, the submission of the new draft of BBL, with positive support from the President himself could mean light to the dark and difficult struggles of the Moro. This may be a way to end this decades of armed conflict which is deeply rooted in underdevelopment, inequality and injustice and bring peace to war-torn Mindanao.
"The failure of past governments to address the needs of the Bangsamoro has further aggravated the armed conflict in the region. The rising extremism is a clear indicator of this generation's disappointment in the government's short-term measures to facilitate development in Mindanao. The passage of this new law might help turn the tide against this extremism," she added.
2017 BBL Version
The BTC claimed that the 2017 BBL version remained faithful to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was developed during the PNoy administration with only a few revision and some additional provisions on the role of the LGUs, fiscal autonomy, executive authority, and composition of the General Assembly.
PMPI hopes that this version reflects more the collective aspirations of the Bangsamoro people to achieve a just and lasting peace.
"Because the peace-building process is all about the people in the community, we expect this version to be more responsive to the needs of the Bangsamoro people. We expect this version would achieve their dream towards self-determination and healing and retribution of all the historical injustice on their people. Further we expect this version to open the playing field to more IP and women participation in governance. We expect this version to strengthen the Moro in managing and protecting their natural resources against misplace development aggression that have become the roots of many human rights violations," Esguerra further added.
The 2017 BBL version is expected to be passed in the 17th congress to initiate the creation of the transition authority in 2019 and plebiscite in 2022.
The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc., a faith-based network of peace and development civil society organizations is committed towards building partnerships to establish the first path towards achieving sustainable peace in Mindanao.