Civic groups: We need BBL that recognizes people’s rights, freedom | Inquirer News

Civic groups: We need BBL that recognizes people’s rights, freedom

/ 02:09 PM July 10, 2018

Members of an umbrella organization All-Out Peace, which is pushing for peace and freedom in Mindanao, hold a “peace rally” in front of the Crowne Plaza on Ortigas Avenue where the bicameral conference committee holds a hearing regarding the Bangsamoro Basic Law. / Noy Morcoso

Peace and civil society groups called on the 26 members of the bicameral committee on Tuesday to grant strong and substantial autonomy to the Bangsamoro through the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in order to achieve peace in Mindanao.

All-Out Peace (AOP), a network of peace and civil society groups, has conducted a peaceful protest outside the venue of the bicameral conference committee tasked to harmonize Congress’ versions of BBL at Crowne Plaza on Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City.


They also submitted an open letter to the bicameral committee to remind lawmakers of the need to grant a BBL that recognizes the rights and freedom of the people in Bangsamoro.


“We are submitting this open letter to remind our lawmakers not only of the necessity of passing a BBL, but of the utmost importance to enact a kind of BBL that substantially reflects and recognizes the fundamental rights of the Bangsamoro (people),” they said.

“To deny the Bangsamoro people of their right to govern themselves is to deny an opportunity for the whole nation to once and for all heal the wounds of violent conflict and achieve genuine peace,” the AOP added.

The AOP also urged the Congressional panel to “once and for all do what is right” and enact a BBL that reflects the previous and current negotiations to the Bangsamoro.

“It is in this context that we humbly urge the government, particularly members of this Bicameral Conference Committee, to once and for all do what is right and deliver the kind of BBL that reflects the core principles of previous and current peace negotiations to the Bangsamoro,” they said.

Meanwhile, the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), a peace organization under AOP, has urged the bicameral committee to produce a strong and substantial BBL, that hopefully would address violent extremism in the region.

“Ayaw natin na ang Bangsamoro na maproduce ng bicam ay watered down [What we don’t need is a watered down Bangsamoro [Basic Law] that is produced by the bicameral],” said Datuan Magon, UNYPAD national spokesperson.


“Naranasan na po natin, karamhihan po ng pag-evolve ng violent extremism ng ibang mga grupo sa Mindanao ay nag-uugat patungkol sa frustrations sa peace process [What we have experienced, most of the time, is the evolution of violent extremism of some groups in Mindanao, rooted out of their frustration in the peace process],” Magon added.

UNYPAD hopes that the bicameral committee would approve the BBL version of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) which, according to them, reflects the “aspirations” of the people in Bangsamoro.

“We support BTC version dahil ito pong draft ng BTC ay nagrereflect at magrereflect po sa aspirations ng mamamayan ng Bangsamoro ng Mindanao [We support BTC version because this draft reflects, and will reflect, the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people in Mindanao],” said Magon.

Bicam updates

So far, the panel tasked to harmonize House Bill 6475 and Senate Bill 1717 has agreed to delete the bill’s anti-political dynasty provision, which Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon branded as “useless” as it does not really curb dynastic behaviors. Senator Francis Escudero said it was struck down by the panel because it was “selective, discriminatory and ineffective.”

READ: Bicam committee deletes proposed BBL’s anti-political dynasty provision  

The panel has also reached a consensus to enhance the powers given to the Bangsamoro under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) law.

READ: Whatever was in ARMM law, BBL will enhance — Zubiri

Ghazali Jaafar, BTC chair and vice chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) central committee, also said they prefer the “opt-in” proposal in the Senate version of the BBL, that would allow 39 barangays in North Cotabato and six towns in Lanao del Norte to join the envisioned Bangsamoro region following a plebiscite.

READ: Moro leaders prefer opt-in provision in Senate version of BBL

The Congressional committee has also agreed to adopt a provision that would allow the promotion of freedom of religion in the proposed Bangsamoro government.

READ: Bicam panels agree to adopt freedom of religion in proposed BBL

It also green-lighted the retention of the automatic appropriation of the annual block grant or development fund for the Bangsamoro government, without the “reportorial requirement” stipulated in earlier versions of the BBL.

READ: Bicam body okays proposed block grant for Bangsamoro gov’t

The body has begun its work on Monday, and is expected to finish their new BBL draft by Tuesday evening. With a report from Syrah Vivien Inocencio, intern / jpv

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READ: Bicam body starts work on harmonizing BBL provisions

TAGS: Bangsamoro, BBL, Mindanao

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