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