Deles optimistic on passage of Bangsamoro law PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 June 2014 12:18

Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles on Friday evening expressed optimism anew on the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by Congress before a historic international conference on interreligious and intercultural dialogue for peace here.

“Our political roadmap is firmly in place and we are fully confident that we are installing a process which will ensure, within an acceptable and doable timeframe, that the BBL which will be enacted by Congress, will live up to the people’s expectations as a measure worthy of broad-based support, and one that is faithful to our Constitution,” she said.

Deles issued these remarks at the opening of the International Conference of Cotabato themed “Peace is Living Together: Religion and Cultures in Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation in Mindanao.” The two-day conference is organized by the Archdiocese of Cotabato, the Community of Sant’ Egidio, and the Muhammadiyah, with the support of the European Union, the Italian government, and Notre Dame University.

She lauded the organizers for holding the event that seeks to foster interreligious and intercultural dialogues as tools for peace to take root and last for the benefit of everybody.

“Peace is about coexistence and inclusion. In no way is it a one-way street. Peace is for all of us and, thus, requires a shared commitment from all of us as well,” Deles said.

“Today, this commitment is fully fleshed out in this diverse assembly. I see men and women of varying levels of experience and expertise, of divergent faiths and ethnicities coming together yet again to secure the peace that we all thought would elude this and future generations,” she added.

Stressing that “we cannot simply talk peace forever,” Deles noted the need “to build the structures for it, and prepare the communities for the transition from conflict to peace, while bringing down the barriers that have kept it away.”

“With the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) last March, all of these components are not only possible, but very much within our reach,” she said.

The CAB, the final peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), envisions the creation of the new Bangsamoro region, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao after the BBL is passed by Congress and ratified in a plebiscite.

BBL updates

Giving updates on the BBL, Deles said all the parties concerned are striving to meet the standards set by President Benigno Aquino III during the CAB signing.

“The BBL will be a law that is equitable, practical, and empowering and which serves the interests of the entire nation,” she said.

Deles said the nation waited for 17 long years for a mutually binding and acceptable peace process with the MILF, and was achieved within just three years of the Aquino administration.

“We can be bold in taking a few more days, if not weeks, to ensure a more refined and strengthened draft BBL to be stewarded by the leadership of both Houses of Congress through a legislative process and thereafter for ratification through plebiscite,” she said.

Deles said the President is determined to wield the democratic process to install the Bangsamoro as a partner in ensuring common prosperity, collective security, and good governance in the four corners of the Philippine archipelago.

“We in the government take our shared journey to peace through the Bangsamoro very seriously,” she said.