Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Lidasan: BOL's impact on peace, security in Mindanao


SECRETARY Carlito Galvez, Jr. and I share a few things in common. One of them is that, for me, as a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and for him as the new OPAPP secretary, we both have strong, sustainable goals towards peace. While I am not a military man -- I believe that looking towards the same vision with others, who come from other points of view, is critical.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is, first and foremost, the next best step towards peace. It is a much-fought for hope that is soon to come to fruition, less than two weeks from now. But how do we build peace? How do we implement peace in the hearts of people who have known so little of it?

Peacebuilding is not only nation-building. It is establishing trust and confidence in our people, who for too long have been dealing with corruption, conflict, and instability. War is costly. One of the opportunities that the BOL presents is ending the more than four decades of military conflict.

The new incoming law, there will be more avenues for not just social empowerment, but economical as well. The BOL is not just a step towards peace, but it allows us to lay down our arms and focus on the creation of a new Bangsamoro. Instead of working to survive, we will thrive.

Security is not just limited to a military peace and order. It is a sense of hope in which every Bangsamoro person deserves. When they go about their daily lives, as they go to work, or to school, or to take care of their families, they need not fear for losing their sources of income, or to worry about their safety. The AFP are here to protect and defend our rights, and the BOL will give us the opportunity to bolster that once more.

A vibrant, thriving group of CSOs is a good indicator of our shared goals. Where the government has failed to deliver, it is the CSOs that have come together to heal communities and provide badly needed services.

Another indicator is in an active and persistent media community. As the watchdogs of society, the media are the first to come towards issues that matter to our constituents. They, too, are our partners in peace and security, as they have the pulse of the people.

After the ratification of the law, the focus is now on the incoming Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to lead these goals of peace and security.

They are responsible for crafting the frameworks and programs needed; from security, basic services, the civil code, education, fiscal services, infrastructure, and more. The trust of the people has to be with them.

As citizens, ourselves, we must be vigilant. The government and private sector cannot do it alone. Peace must also come from us, in our homes. There will be many changes, especially now that the eyes of the nation will be on us. A normalization process for these changes, for both civilians and former combatants, happens.

The beauty of the BOL is that we can now see former combatants now seated side by side with our AFP and the PNP. We are not so different after all. We are looking towards the same vision. With our shared work towards nation-building, we can assess that peace and security are within our reach, within our lifetime.


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