by ayan c. mellejor and richy nalagon
Two Mindanaoans are pinning hope on the new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to end the struggle for peace and self-deter-mination of the Moro people in Mindanao.
The new BBL was submitted by the Bangsa-moro Transition Commis-sion (BTC) to President Rodrigo Duterte in a ceremony in Malacañang late Monday afternoon. The expanded BTC is created by an executive order tasked to draft the enabling law in establishing a Bangsamoro government in Mindanao. It is com-posed of eleven members from the MILF, including the chair of the BTC while ten of its members are nominated by the govern-ment. Three of the govern-ment’s nominees are from the Moro National Libera-tion Front (MNLF).
Fr. Joel Tabora SJ, president of the Ateneo De Davao University said, “We hope this Bangsamoro Basic Law, shall really bring about this condition of peace,” Tabora said in an interview on the sidelines of the ceremony. It was Tabora who rendered a prayer in the ceremony.
Tabora said there are many institutions which are supporting the new BBL, offering to help in urging them to understand, eva-luate and support it.
“We hope that it can be understood, in the historical context injustices that were, committed against the Muslim people and we hope that, in school, we can deeply explain, why these historical injustices have to be rectified,” Tabora said.
He emphasized the need to have autonomy for the Bangsamoro people duly recognized by the government. Hopefully, he said the new BBL will be approved by Congress.
“I believed that bet-ween the last version and this version, there are more insights into why, it is an important step for peace,” Tabora said.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gover-nor Mujiv Hataman is also hopeful the new BBL will get the support of Congress.
“The regional govern-ment of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Minda-nao also reiterates its sup-port to the ongoing peace process and its commit-ment to serving the Bang-samoro people. We’ve had countless moments of triumph in our collective struggle for our right to self-determination, and today marks another impor-tant milestone in our shared history,” Hataman said. “Greater victories are ahead of us, and together we will continue to assert our rights and claim these victories for our people.”
Hataman said the submission of the new BBL marks an important day for the ongoing peace process in the Bangsamoro.
Hataman cited the 21-member BTC for involving the people in a series of renewed consultations and dialogue because it provided an opportunity to look at the proposed legislation with a fresh perspective.
“It is hoped that the new draft of the BBL will also renew the commitment not only of the peace panels but also the commitment of our legislators in Congress to pursuing peace in the region,” he said.
“We hope that the president will use this important platform to push for legislation that acknow-ledges and addresses the historical injustices com-mitted against the Bangsa-moro people, and to pursue restorative justice and lasting peace in the region,” Hataman said.
He said “Delays in our collective struggle towards peace make it easy for fear to take root in the hearts of our people. Delays in our shared pursuit of justice make it easier for terror to thrive,” he said.
Tabora and Hataman echoed the President’s call to Congress for the appro-val of the new BBL. Du-terte has committed to support and “husband this instrument as it goes in the legislator for its considera-tion.”
At the ceremony, Du-terte said the submission of the new BBL “will stand as proof of our resolve to set aside our differences and stand united to achieve our common goal of peace” “This moment is a signi-ficant step forward in our quest to end centuries of hatred, mistrust and injus-tice that cost and affected the lives of millions of Filipinos,” he said.
Duterte said new BBL shared aspirations of a peaceful, orderly and har-monious nation. “After decades of armed struggle and violence, we will soon come up with a constitutio-nally consistent legal instrument that will lay the foundation for establishing real and lasting peace in Mindanao,” he said.
He said the new BBL puts into life and spirit the constitutional mandate provided in the 1987 Consti-tution for the establishment of a truly autonomous region in Muslim Minda-nao. It also paves the way for meeting the just aspira-tion of the Bangsamoro people for self-determina-tion that is consistent and reflective of the distinct historical [and] cultural heritage, and economic and social structures common to the people residing in the Bangsamoro.
Duterte is optimistic it will be realized while pre-serving and strengthening the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.
“The draft bill, jointly written by our Muslim, Christian and Lumad bro-thers and sisters, shall give rise to a genuine autono-mous region as well as bring forth healing and reconciliation to the histori-cal injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people,” he said.