On Moro conflict: ‘Just resolution’ urged

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Friday, August 15, 2014


AMID the delays in crafting the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a group of grassroots communities and various sectors of the Bangsamoro in Mindanao have pushed anew for the speedy signing of the law that they believe will lead to the long-time coveted self-determination of Muslims in the country.

Through the Simuay Declaration signed by 64 leaders in Mindanao last August 10 in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao province, the Bangsamoro is calling the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to continue what they called "just resolution" of the Moro conflict.

In a statement, the group has united to advance the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) by 2015, and the regular Bangsamoro government by 2016.

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Development, peace

“We have been witness to the misery of our people brought about by more than four decades of war. Thus, we recognize that development is synonymous with peace," it said.

"Set against our burning desire to move forward from this impoverished situation, we feel the strong sense of urgency to have the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) implemented," the statement added.

The BBL's ratification will serve as charter of the Bangsamoro government for self-governance that covers the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm), six municipalities in Lanao del Norte province, six municipalities in Cotabato province and cities of Cotabato and Isabela.

‘Strong political justness’

Professor Muhammad Usop, chairman of the Committee on Simuay Declaration, called for the members of Congress "to be guided by a strong sense of political justness when they soon consider the passage of the BBL."

"The Moro people need a permanent solution to the decades-old rebellion in Mindanao. We expect that this Basic Law will reflect the Moro aspiration for self-determination," Usop told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro Thursday morning by phone.

Usop furthered the crucial role of President Benigno Aquino III in informing the public about the importance of the peace process not only to the Bangsamoro people, but also for the Philippines.

"Some issues arise in the crafting of the law. But I hope this will not diminish the commitment of the Philippine government and the MILF to push forward until finally, the Bangsomoro government will be established," he added.

In a news conference last Wednesday, Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the passage of the BBL is feasible by 2016 since all parties of the peace process are moving forward at the right pace.

After a 10-day meeting in Davao City, the government and MILF peace panels committed to submit the BBL draft to Aquino by August 18.

In the meeting in Davao, the panels tackled issues involving fiscal autonomy and the administration of justice in the proposed Bangsamoro political entity, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Remain unconvinced

Meanwhile, some Moros in country remain unconvinced of the BBL as the primary solution to the long-standing rebellion in Mindanao.

Previously, retired Colonel Macacuna Sumpingan, from Lanao del Sur, expressed his pessimism toward the law as it will only worsen the political landscape in the areas covered.

Since the BBL will give full power to the new government, more politicians will be interested to run for office and this will make a much more disorderly political system, he said.

Abdul Jalil Mangoranda of the Sharief Alawi Islamic Center (SAIC) in Cagayan de Oro said he is optimistic this law will bring peace in Mindanao.

However, like Sumpingan, he is uncertain of the government system of the BBL if the same kind of politicians today will remain in their posts.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 15, 2014.

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