Moro women press for passage of BBL
DAVAO CITY — Moro women in Southern Mindanao are urging Congress to pass the proposed basic law that would establish a Moro homeland on the war-torn but resource-rich island.
During a public hearing on the proposed law in Davao City on Saturday, the Bangsamoro Women Organization said that while the Davao provinces were not included in the core area of the proposed Moro homeland, its passage would still benefit the region.
The areas included in the Moro homeland under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) are the provinces and cities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Lanao del Norte towns of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal; and villages in the North Cotabato towns of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Midsayap, which voted in favor of inclusion in ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite.
Cotabato City in Maguindanao and Isabela City in Basilan, which voted out of the ARMM, are also included in the proposed new Bangsamoro territory.
“We believe that the BBL is the antidote to prevent violent extremism in the Bangsamoro community. As Bangsamoro women, we believe that our children are always and at all times prone to the effects of terrorism,” said Jobayra Tandong, spokesperson for the Bangsamoro Women Organization in the region.
The hearing was conducted by the House committees on local government, Muslim affairs and peace and reconciliation.
South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. said the hearing was held in Davao even if the city or any area of the Davao provinces would not be part of the new Bangsamoro territory to get the general pulse of the Moro population.
He said similar hearings would be conducted in several other Mindanao areas before the House of Representatives would wrap up the consultations on the proposed BBL.
BTC proposal only
Being presented in the public hearings are four consolidated bills filed in the House and the draft BBL prepared by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).
Agakhan Sharief, chair of the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development, earlier said the Moro people wanted no other law passed but the one proposed by the BTC.
Tandong agreed, saying the one written by the BTC was the most acceptable version to the Moro people.
North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco said the House committee would be conducting more hearings in the coming weeks.
“We will be returning to Basilan and then to Sulu,” she said.
Hearings will also be held in Tawi-Tawi and other areas until the middle of March, she said.
Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat said he continued to question the provision in the BTC version that would allow those in the so-called contiguous areas to vote in the plebiscite that would decide the fate of the BBL.
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