Christian groups push for passage of Bangsamoro basic law
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines —Leaders of the evangelical Christian community in the country have urged Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law soon to give peace a chance to take root in Mindanao.
Bishop Efraim Tendero, national director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), noted that the establishment of the Bangsamoro autonomous entity would hinge on the enactment and ratification of the Basic Law, now being drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).
“We pray that this Bangsamoro Basic Law would pass the careful, responsible examination and deliberation in the House of Representatives [and Senate] using the lenses of justice, righteousness, and peace for all,” Tendero said in a statement.
The PCEC is the largest network of evangelical Christians in the Philippines composed of 30,000 evangelical churches, 69 denominations and 160 parachurch and mission organizations. It is the umbrella group of evangelical Christian organizations in the country.
The peace panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expect to sign the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) within two months.
The CAB will be a compilation of the parties’ consensus documents, namely the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its four annexes on transitional modalities, wealth sharing, power sharing and normalization plus the addendum on Bangsamoro waters.
The CAB will be enshrined into the Basic Law, the charter of the future Bangsamoro.
The BTC expects to hand to President Aquino a draft of the Basic Law by May. The President will then endorse it to Congress for enactment as an urgent piece of legislation.
“We pray that the drafting of the Basic Law by the BTC would reflect the just and peaceful aspirations of all the Moro people, all the various tribes among the indigenous peoples, as well as the migrants in Mindanao,” Tendero said.
“We pray that even now, those of us who truly seek genuine transformation towards the peace of the Moros, Indigenous Peoples and Migrants in Mindanao, would start praying for, and plan on supporting, Moro-led political parties that reflect the justice-oriented and reconciling peace for Mindanao and the whole Philippines,” he added.
Tendero said the 2016 election for the Bangsamoro Government would pave the way for a new political leadership among the Moro constituency in Mindanao.
Aside from legislators, the PCEC also calls on the leaders of the executive and judicial branches of the government “to exemplify honor, transparency, justice and compassion as we continue this negotiation and partnership until all aspects of the CAB have been fully implemented.”
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