COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The head of the government peace panel in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has called on members of Moro royalty to unite and come up with a paper on the kind of roles they would like to play under the future Bangsamoro government.
“It would be good if you can give us inputs on the role that you would want to play. Let us make the engagement more positive and constructive,” Ferrer told members of the Maharadjah Tabunaway Descendants Council of the Philippines (MTDCP) during a February 9 peace forum on the Framework Agreement held here.
The council counts the royal houses of Rajah Buayan and Kabuntalan in Maguindanao, Dungun in Tawi-Tawi, Sibugay in Zamboanga del Sur, and Kapatagan in Lanao del Norte.
Ferrer said the rationale for asking the royalty to get involved in the future Bangsamoro government was to make sure they would not be sidelined in decision-making and other functions as traditional leaders.
She said members of the Moro royalty can make their proposals in various consultations for the Framework Agreement and future dialogues to be spearheaded by the Transition Commission.
The 15-member TC is to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the charter that would govern the territory that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The ARMM is regarded by Moro rebels as a failed and sham autonomy.
Hadja Bai Putri Marieta Nor-Aisha Mindalano, MTDCP head, said the holding of government-sponsored consultations on the peace process proved that it was sincere about getting everybody involved.
She said Ferrer’s call could also “accelerate the role of royal houses in the attainment of genuine and lasting peace, which is everyone’s responsibility.”
Mindalano said for one, Moro royals could push for the retention of Moro customary laws in the future charter.
“The customary laws of Moros have long been a cherished part of the Moro culture and jurisprudence. It can define how tradition and cultural heritage are shared and developed to sustain a serene community,” she said.