THE Bangsamoro Youth Caucus, the 1st nationwide Bangsamoro youth leaders gathering to support the passage of the Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law, issued a statement last September 16, 2017 (Saturday) as a response to the current developments within the Bangsamoro peace process.
Last July 17, the Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was received by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte from the Expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in Malacañang Palace. It was supposedly a priority measure that should be passed by yearend if the Duterte administration’s peace roadmap were followed. However, the BBL was not among the 28 bills listed under the Common Legislative Agenda approved by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council in a full council meeting on August 29.
Recognizing the importance of the voices of the Bangsamoro youth, the Salaam Movement and Al Qalam Institute of Ateneo de Davao University convened the first Bangsamoro Youth Caucus on September 15. The caucus was open to Moro youth leaders across the different areas of the Bangsamoro who consider themselves being an advocates for the Bangsamoro cause and peace in Mindanao.
The focus of the Caucus were as follows: review the status of the Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law; understand its legal bases for passage in Congress and the Senate; plan on collective ways of moving forward with the help of the Bangsamoro youth; and, drafting a strong statement expressing their sentiments and voices as we hope, pray and wait for our Bangsamoro aspirations to be finally realized.
A copy of the text of the official statement of the members of the 1st Bangsamoro Youth Caucus is written below:
“The Bangsamoro people have been suffering injustices for centuries until today. In our common goal for self-determination, we remind ourselves and the entire country of our common responsibility of establishing an inclusive democracy to create a just society.”
“We sustain our forefathers’ struggle and call all sectors of society to unite in upholding the Bangsamoro cause, as formed by one faith that promotes peaceful co-existence and justice among all peoples in the Bangsamoro homeland, regardless of faith and ethnicity.”
“We urge all academic, religious and other concerned institutions to address historical injustices and atrocities committed against the Bangsamoro people through creation of programs supporting a comprehensive and holistic education on Bangsamoro history.”
“We recommend to the implementing panels of both the Government and the Moro Fronts to create a safe avenue for the discourse of all differing opinions on the Bangsamoro peace process, and to necessitate the inclusive participation of the youth in the drafting and lobbying of policies and resolutions for the Bangsamoro.”
“We strongly express our commitment and support to the front-liners in the peaceful pursuit of a just and working framework for the Bangsamoro homeland.”
“We hereby reiterate our firm stand on the Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law drafted by the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that is compliant with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and other Peace Accords and IT MUST BE PASSED AND IMPLEMENTED as this is the only viable tool that will address the issues of historical injustices, poor education, socio-economic instability, violent extremism and all forms of conflict.”
“In Allah’s will, we will never give up.”
The statement was signed by more than 60 Bangsamoro youth coming from different regions and ethnicity in Mindanao. The group also plans to conduct more Bangsamoro youth caucus in the different towns and provinces in the country. According to Datu Jorjani Sinsuat, President of Salam: Ateneo Muslim Society and officer of the Ateneo SAMAHAN, also one of the convenors of the Caucus, “we need to hear the voice of the Bangsamoro youth. We need to hear their narratives of the present condition within their communities. The Caucus aims to be the medium in hearing their voices.”
The Bangsamoro peace process must continue. Passing the Enhance BBL is our key in addressing violent extremism. If we need to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution in order to fully accommodate the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people in their right to self determination, then we must support the Duterte administration in his plan for Charter Change.