The Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI), a social development network of people’s organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), church/faith-based groups is pleased on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee.
We always had faith that this day will come and that the continued pursuit for peace is a universal movement. Thus, we earnestly ask you to push forward this to facilitate its immediate enactment.
And even as we firmly believe that the BBL is a step forward to peace and development not only for the Bangsamoro but for Mindanao and the Philippines in general, we would like to further push for some enhancements in the BBL which you, dear Senator, has the power and chance to do.
As a social development network advocating sustainable development, we appeal to you to give importance and attention to Section XII on National Economy and Patrimony particularly on Natural Resources.
1. We would like to request that in the discussion on the Natural Resources of the Bangsamoro territory, to highlight and put emphasis on the framework of conservation and protection of the environment over exploration, utilization and development (EUD). This is because in our experience, EUD means solely extraction and mining. In reality, we have yet to see a project that is forward looking when it comes to extractive industry. One that considers conservation of natural resources and the future generation. This is more urgent in the context of building resilient communities amidst the great threat of the adverse impact of climate change. Likewise within the frame of a sustainable development, if the BBL is keen on the provision on exploration, utilization, development and protection of the natural resources, we think it is important to clearly identify measures that would prevent loss of biodiversity especially of island communities, impoverishment of community and breakdown of peace and order due to the social divisions it creates. Without a framework such as this, development and peace which is the spirit of BBL will be hampered and compromised down to the level of affected communities.
2. Also, we call your attention to our particular concern
2.1 On Article XII Section 10 On the Preferential Rights of Bona Fide Inhabitants of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to have preferential rights over the exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources, excluding fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) and uranium, within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. We still maintain that the clause should give teeth and additional qualifiers to protect the preferential right of the Bangsamoro people vis-à-vis or over a bona fide inhabitants who have established 6 months residency requirements and who can be owners of mining or extractive companies.
2.2 On Article XII Section 8 on Natural Resources which provides only consultation with the Bangsamoro Government over the exploration, utilization, development, and protection for the strategic minerals such as uranium, petroleum, and other fossil fuels, mineral oils, and all sources of potential energy. We maintain and propose that this should be a shared or concurrent power. We firmly believe that in the Bangsamoro people should have a say and role in the management of strategic minerals within the Bangsamoro.
We hope that our suggestion would be taken into account. PMPI is thankful that BBL is now on the hands of the senate. We trust that you would add another chapter to the Filipino people’s journey towards peace. We, together with other peace groups in the country, are looking forward to share this remarkable work of peace with you.
May love and wisdom prevail as you craft the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
YOLANDA R. ESGUERRA
Hand Delivered last May 25,2015 at the Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City
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The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was finally approved by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee yesterday. This, after years of waiting and hoping for a day that most people thought would never come. This is another milestone in the continuing peace dialogue between MILF and the Government.
“That it was unanimously approved and is now for discussion in the plenary of the Congress is indeed a step forward. It is a stride towards achieving peace and development not only for the Moro people but for all the people of Mindanao and the whole Philippines. However, we know that this is just the beginning of another story, another path to unfold and another test to pass in the name of peace.” Ms. Marilou R. Llavan, PMPI Co-Convenor for Visayas.
“We have mixed feelings.” said Yoly Esguerra, National Coordinator of PMPI. “We are pleased because BBL now explicitly recognizes the Indigenous People’s Rights Act in the Bangsamoro Basic Law as enshrined in Article VIII Section 5 of the document and that there are several provisions in the law that guarantee inclusion and participation of the indigenous peoples and also women in governance. On the one hand we are uneasy, because in Article XII section 10 still opens up the preferential rights over exploration, development and utilization of natural resources to just any bonafide inhabitants of the Bangsamoro Autonomous region. We still maintain that the clause should give teeth to the preferential right of the Bangsamoro people by including clause that would ensure that the original inhabitants and their kin will not be marginalized by rich and strong mining corporations both local and international.”
Likewise, it is not clear how will the Bangsamoro government can help provide check and balance in the area of management and utilization of natural resources specially pertaining to the strategic minerals (uranium, petroleum, other fossil fuels, mineral oils and all other potential sources of energy) if they will only be consulted by the National Government as stated in Article XII, Section 8.
“We hope that the provision on the consultation between the Bangsamoro and the National government regarding strategic minerals will not be left vague.” Primo Morillo, Anti-Mining Advocacy Officer of PMPI said. “As we understand that the Philippine Constitution says that the state has sole ownership of these mineral resources, we are worried that with the current neo-liberal framework of the Mining Act of 1995 will not be helpful for the sustainable development of the Bangsamoro” Morillo further explains.
For PMPI, these are just some of the issues that the current BBL have to address still. And although the current BBL may not be fully what many groups and lobbyists would like it to be, PMPI is thankful that BBL will see the light in Congress plenary and that peace groups will have another chance to further lobby for enhancements. This will be another difficult and demanding work. But there is no other way.
“We will continue to engage the Bangsamoro even after the passage of the BBL to ensure that the spirit of the law, to serve the common good especially of the Bangsamoro people can be fully realized,” stated Mr Roldan Gonzales, Chairperson of PMPI Co-Convenors.
Official Statement released on May 21, 2015.
PMPI’S CONCERNS REGARDING THE EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT AND USE (EDU) OF NATURAL RESOURCES UNDER THE REGIME OF THE DRAFT BASIC BANGSAMORO LAW (BBL)
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) supports the creation of the Bangsamoro Government and all the processes leading to its realization. As part of the continuing peace process, we believe that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is a big step in the right direction toward achieving lasting peace and development in Mindanao as the Bangsamoro will eventually be transformed into a political reality and hopefully will increase the momentum for the economic empowerment of the Bangsamoro people. This is a significant and crucial process that we as a nation should collectively take part with greater resolve and creativity.
With this imperative, PMPI continues to engage the process by providing platform for dialogue and transformative action. As a network of more than 300 faith-based organizations, CSOs, and people’s organizations, PMPI values the promotion of total human development anchored on the principles of sustainable development, human rights, peace based on justice, good governance, and gender fairness. One of the major advocacies of PMPI is the stewardship of our natural resources which recognizes our individual and collective right to the beneficial use of our natural resources with the correlative duty to manage, enhance and conserve it for future generations. This should be accompanied by a clear rules and processes on access and benefit sharing that is inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent and accountable.