SAP GO: BOL signals start of peace in Mindanao
Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed hope that the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will signal the start of lasting peace in Mindanao.
Go made this remark during the ceremonial signing of the BOL on Monday at the Malacañang Palace in the presence of several lawmakers and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).
The BOL was signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on July 27, 2018, days after it was ratified by the Senate and House of Representatives.
“Ang pagpirma ni Pangulong Duterte sa BOL ay nagsisilbing pagsisimula ng katapusan ng kaguluhan at paghihirap sa Mindanao. Ibig sabihin, dito po natin makikita na kung may political will ang president, walang impo-imposible (President Duterte’s signing of the BOL signals the end of war and misery in Mindanao. This means nothing is impossible with a president who has political will),” Go said.
He encouraged all Filipinos to take part in the next steps that the Bangsamoro Organic Law will face.
Under the new law, a plebiscite will be held in the Bangsamoro between 90 and 150 days after its effectivity.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) earlier expressed support for Go’s senatorial bid and thanked President Duterte’s top aide for his help in facilitating in Congress and the Office of the President the process of approving BOL formerly named Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
BY LILIAN C. MELLEJOR
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will submit the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to President Rodrigo Duterte by the third week of this month.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) first vice chair and Chair of the 21-member BTC Ghazali Jaafar said they are into the finalization of the draft BBL.
The BBL, once it becomes a law, will chart the future of the Bangsamoro government in the Bangsamoro ancestral homeland.
”Halos patapos na ang pagsulat ng mga honorable commissioners Bangsamoro Transition Commission sa batas (The honorable commissioners are almost finish in writing the draft law). Maybe in few days time the BTC will finish its work,” Jaafar said during a press conference after the breaking of the fast on Saturday night, June 3, in Davao City.
Jaafar said the draft BBL enshrines the legitimate aspiration and interests of the Muslims, Christian settlers, Moro and non-Moro Indigenous Peoples of the Bangsamoro.
He said it has been the aspiration of the Moro people to establish a government that is “genuinely asymmetric in relationship with the central government, and consistent with their belief and historical experience.”
He said the BBL does not contravene to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
According to Jaafar, the interests of the Bangsamoro people are well reflected in several articles that clearly establish its powers over political and fiscal matters, including the control over the exploration, development and utilization of resources.
Jaafar said the Preamble and Articles 1 up to VIII essentially vest the Bangsamoro government with powers that make it more autonomous than the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) while Article XII and XIII make the Bangsamoro government less dependent on the central government in revenue generation and control over the use and disposition of the natural resources.
He said the draft BBL also reflects the interests of the Christian settler communities for the protection of their rights and welfare. These are reflected in the general principles and polices and in the article of basic rights.
It also guarantees their participation in governance as well as the no-Moro IPs with the reserved seats in the Bangsamoro Parliament.
They are also guaranteed of their human rights and vested property rights.
As for women, youth, traditional leaders and other sectors, which are not identified, Jaafar said they will have the right for participation in governance even in the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) and the Bangsamoro government. Traditional leaders will be represented in the Council of Leaders, which will be created once the BTA is formed.
These are indicated in the articles of intergovernmental relations, Jaafar said.
Jaafar also emphasized on several other articles in the BBL the respect for fundamental and sacred rights of Muslims, Christians or IPs.
He said the BBL is truly democratic because it will undergo a process of ratification wherein all affected residents of the core territories and contiguous areas shall be asked to freely join the new political entity. This is indicated in Article XV, the Preamble and Article 1 while Section 2 or Article V speaks of the democratic political system.
Without the BBL, Jaafar emphasized that there can be no implementation of the negotiated political settlement to the issue of the Bangsamoro.
Jaafar said the BTC is committed to submit the proposed BBL as mandated by President Duterte, who assured them that the BTC is not affected by the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.
The expanded BTC is created by an Executive Order tasked to draft the enabling law in establishing a Bangsamoro government in Mindanao. It is composed of eleven members from the MILF, including the chair of the BTC while 10 of its members are nominated by the government. Three of the government’s nominees are from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). (PNA)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an Executive Order (EO) establishing an expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that will ensure a more inclusive peace process in the country’s volatile southern island of Mindanao.
The Philippine government is now talking peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which had been fighting a bloody war for autonomy for Muslim-dominated regions of Mindanao for more than four decades.
True to his campaign promise, President Duterte on Monday, November 7, in Malacanang in Manila, took a significant step to bring lasting peace in Mindanao with the signing of the EO that reconstituted and expanded the membership of the BTC.
In a report, the government’s Philippine News Agency (PNA) said that under the EO the Commission now has 21 members from 11. The BTC is tasked to craft an enabling law that will ensure a more inclusive peace process by accommodating more voices in the process of implementing the Bangsamoro accords. It was expected to refine the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is pending in Congress.
In his speech at the signing ceremony, President Duterte said he hopes that with the new BTC, just and lasting peace in the region would be achieved under his term just as he had promised during the presidential campaign. The President won with a landslide victory in the last May presidential election.
“When I ran for President, I decided to run on the platform that there will be a structure that must be acceptable to the people of the Republic of the Philippines and one that should be adopted willingly by the Moro people of Mindanao,” he said.
“My only desire is that peace for Mindanao would finally come. And if it can be done peacefully without a fight, we would be grateful to God, that not a single drop of blood has been shed in this new undertaking of giving the country finally a deliverance from violence,” the President said.
Present during the signing of the EO were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and other members of the Cabinet; MILF Chairman Al Haj Ebrahim Murad and members of the MILF Central Committee; GPH Implementing Panel Chair Irene Santiago; MILF Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal; Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez; members of the Diplomatic Corps, among others.
“The signing of the EO that will reconstitute the BTC brings to the fore the sincere desire of the new administration under the able and strong leadership of his Excellency, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to continue the path to peace. You will find the MILF a sincere and willing partner,” MILF chairman Murad said.
President Duterte directed that since there is only one Bangsamoro, the provisions not yet implemented in the 1996 agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the MILF be consolidated into one enabling law.
In view of this, the government has agreed to include among its nominees three members from the MNLF.
The BTC is expected to submit the draft law to Congress in the middle of next year.
President Duterte said that he would talk to the leaders of Congress to fast-track the passage of a Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL).
“I can commit to you now, madalian lang natin ito. We can have (a) special autonomous (region) within a federal government for Muslim Mindanao,” he said.
“I will talk to the (House of Representives) Speaker and the Senate President to fast-track it because I want it. If I could get a peace agreement with the communists and hammer out something for MNLF and MILF and all Moro groupings and even the Abu Sayyaf… If I could just extend my hand to friendship and it is time to have a country that is normal and peaceful for our children to grow in peace, I would have succeeded,” the President said.
“I am committed to the peace process and I pray to Allah it will succeed in my term. Sabi ko nga, maski yan na lang magawa ko sa bayan ko, okay na yan,” President Duterte said.
For his part, Murad vowed that the MILF would be a partner for peace.
“I came here today in this historic place in the name of peace and for peace. I come here today to offer partnership for peace so that together our people and we may reap progress and development. I stand before you to offer mutual understanding so that despite our differences we may still live together and build together a better future,” the MILF chair said in his speech.
He also expressed his optimism that the signing of the EO will pave the way for the immediate passage of the enabling law that will translate the provisions of the CAB.
“The CAB is the embodiment of the legitimate aspirations of the Bangsamoro people to determine their future and govern themselves within a larger Philippine Republic. It is not just our right but the right thing to do,” he said.
“And so today, my friends, I am here not merely to witness the signing of the EO but I am here to witness the rebirth of a new hope that we may finally achieve the fulfillment of the promise of a peace agreement for our future generation. I pray that peace, progress, justice and brotherhood will reign in our homeland,” Murad said. (Cielito M. Reganit/PNA)
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