Charter makers back Bangsamoro law
MANILA, Philippines—The surviving framers of the Constitution have reminded members of Congress the creation of a Bangsamoro territory was about people development, “and not the constitutionality of words,” as they expressed support for a Bangsamoro autonomous region.
“The core principle of the 1987 Constitution in mandating special status to autonomous regions is the human development of the people of Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras. Hence, the public conversation should not be about semantics but about people, their needs, aspirations, choices, and about empowering them with the environmental and institutional framework for social justice,” the framers said in a statement on Monday.
The group, numbering 14, stressed the need for a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in order to achieve development and finally silence the guns in Mindanao after decades of strife between government forces and the rebellious Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Chance to flourish
Free from the insecurities brought about by war, the people of Muslim Mindanao will be given a chance to flourish, a recognition of their rights, the group said.
The 14 were part of the 18 surviving members of the 48-member Constitutional Commission (ConCom) which drafted the 1987 Constitution.
The 14 met formally on Jan. 9—the first time in 27 years—to lend their support for the draft BBL, the fruit of the long drawn-out peace negotiation between the government and the MILF.
They were Felicitas Aquino-Arroyo, Adolf Azcuna, Teodoro Bacani, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, Florangel Rosario Braid, Hilario Davide Jr., Edmundo Garcia, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Christian Monsod, Ricardo Romulo, Rene Sarmiento, Jaime S.L. Tadeo, Wilfrido Villacorta and Bernardo Villegas.
Four members were “either bedridden or could not be reached.” They were Ponciano Bennagen, Teresa Nieva, Florenz Regalado and Napoleon Rama, the group said in their statement.
Of the 48 ConCom members, 30 have died, including Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, Lino Brocka, Christine Tan, Regalado Maambong and Blas Ople.
Congressmen from Mindanao have been conducting public hearings with stakeholders in the Bangsamoro after President Aquino certified the draft BBL as urgent.
But the measure could still face stiff opposition in Congress over issues like its constitutionality. The government and the MILF finally reached a peace agreement after years of negotiations and its last hurdle is the Congress.
“Let us set aside partisan politics and stop the urge to exhibit our ability to find nuances of legalism that can delay, or worse, derail the process, feeding on the cynicism and playing on the fears in the national psyche that are more reflex reaction than reasoned response,” the surviving ConCom members said.
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