Statements on the submission of BBL to Congress PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 September 2014 11:29

From Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles:

Today, we reach a turning point in our national quest for peace in Mindanao.

His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III has submitted to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate a document embodying the administration’s proposal on the provisions of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.

This draft embodies the substance and spirit of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was signed by the government and MILF negotiating panels last March 27 in Malacañang Palace.  Once enacted into law, the consent of the people in the proposed Bangsamoro core territory will have to be obtained through a plebiscite to be held next year. For the areas that vote yes, they will be governed by a Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which will be created by the law with members to be appointed by the President. In 2016, simultaneous with the national and local elections, the first Bangsamoro elections will be held that will install the first set of officials of the Bangsamoro.

This political roadmap is firmly on track, and we hold our congressional leaders to their promise to prioritize the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We are grateful beyond words for the patience, fortitude, and resilience shown by the government and MILF peace panels, as well as the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, in the pursuit of peace, guided solely by the best intentions not only for the Bangsamoro people, but also for the entire country.

We expect and look forward to a vigorous public debate arising from a thorough and sober review of every provision contained in this draft document, once filed in the Senate and House of Representatives.

For now, let us welcome the dawning of a new era that has taken us more than 17 years to bring to our people’s doorsteps. Every word, line, and provision shall be subjected to the sunshine of democratic debate, where all voices will be heard, with our Constitution as the guiding light.

This is the farthest distance we have reached in our peace journey with the MILF, and the most significant political step we have taken in our political roadmap for the Bangsamoro.

To our esteemed partners in the peace process, now is not the time to rest or be complacent. Now is the time to be heard, and to listen to the views of others, as we set aside our differences to unite behind the cause of peace.

Today, our generation holds the key that would unlock the unlimited potentials of a peaceful Mindanao, of more developed Bangsamoro communities, and a more cohesive, prosperous, and united Philippines.

Let us pass a Bangsamoro Basic Law that would make past and future generations proud.

Maraming salamat po!

From GPH peace panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front:

The submission of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to the leaders of the Philippine Congress today, 10 September 2014, brings us to the next, crucial stage in our roadmap to the Bangsamoro political entity: the formal legislative process.

The proposed BBL has transposed into legal form and further elaborated on the various annexes —  notably the Wealth-sharing and Power-sharing Annexes — to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

It builds on the foundation provided by the past organic acts on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). But it has several distinct features that distinguish it from the ARMM.

Significantly, the proposed BBL provides that the Bangsamoro government shall be parliamentary in form. This institutional design would allow for a broader base of political representation and participation in governance. It would compel the formation of competitive and sustainable political parties in the region.

In this regard, we welcome the ongoing efforts of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to form a political party that would serve as their vehicle for effective participation in electoral politics and consequently assist in their transformation from combatants to full-time civilian life as active Filipino citizens in the Bangsamoro.

We enjoin other groups and sectors to consider forming their political parties that would equally enable them to participate fairly and peacefully in the Bangsamoro elections in 2016 and thereafter.

As envisioned, the Bangsamoro Government will enjoy significant powers over and above the powers granted to the ARMM today, all on the basis of the powers given to autonomous regions in our Constitution, and the creative spaces or flexibilities found therein.

As envisioned, the Bangsamoro shall enjoy fiscal autonomy through fiscal and other revenue-generating powers in its hands. It shall be given an automatically appropriated annual block grant similar to the internal revenue allotment (IRA) received by other local governments.

Moreover, it would be provided with additional funding support that would hasten socio-economic development in this region that has been left behind due to intermittent conflicts and malgovernance in most of the last five decades.

With more powers and resources come more responsibilities. This is the advantage as well as the duty of those who will be leading the Bangsamoro in the years to come. It is an opportunity that must be made available for the common good, but also one that must not be squandered.

As envisioned, the Bangsamoro Government shall be secular and democratic, a government of all, even as it establishes institutions, programs and policies that would serve the needs and uphold the ways of life of its majority Muslim population.

The basic rights of all inhabitants shall be guaranteed, and special rights accorded all indigenous peoples, women, children, and minorities shall be respected and promoted.

These and other key features are detailed in the draft BBL that shall very soon be deliberated on by Congress.

We trust that our esteemed lawmakers, cognizant of the historic import of this process, would view the submitted draft with open hearts and minds, and would take on the monumental responsibility of bringing forth the Bangsamoro with seriousness of purpose and urgency.

From ARMM Governor Mujiv S. Hataman:

The President has just handed over to Congress the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.  This law, a child borne of countless hours of deep thought and discussion, is now in the hands of legislators whose duty is to study, deliberate and act upon all matters related to the advancement and welfare of the Bangsamoro people, and make the Bangsamoro Basic Law the basis of lasting peace and prosperity in Mindanao.

This, our esteemed legislators, is a daunting task. The future of a people who for centuries have fought for self-determination now lies in your hands. This law is for the children who wish to run across school grounds instead of running for their lives. This law is for families who want to put life into the earth through crops and produce, no longer to dig graves for their fathers and sons who have fallen in war. This law is what will help them realize their wishes and dreams.

Our working government has been hard at work preparing for the outcome of this law. We started with the teachers, who will be there to guide our youth as they grow, hopefully in lasting peace, with the knowledge that you helped lay down the law that allows them to do so. We continued with roads, so that the farthest locations can be reached by the progress this law will bring. And we will, to our last day in office, carry on with the transparency and good governance that has turned the ARMM around towards the future. It is this future that we will hand over to the Bangsamoro.

Bangsamoro is not the end of the ARMM. It is the beginning of peace and progress, the groundwork for which was made by the ARMM. Far from being a failed experiment, the ARMM is living proof that good governance can lead only to success, and that success is what will fuel the Bangsamoro’s continuing quest for peace, progress, and the right to self-rule.

From the Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN) and Generation Peace Network (GenPeace) :

We in the youth sector welcome the submission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress on September 10 as various stakeholders, supporting the roadmap for the creation of the Bangsamoro, are waiting for the passage of the law by Congress to commence.

The breakthroughs in the peace efforts affirm our hope for enhancement of peace and development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao; that signed peace agreement namely the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will be realized and contribute to the upliftment of the lives of the people.

Peace-building is a continuing process and we in the youth sector take the challenge to help ensure that the gains of peace in this generation will be sustained and benefit all.

We call on our lawmakers to unite— transcend political differences – for the crucial passage of the BBL which is a landmark law in the history of law-making and peace-making in the country. Our future is what is at stake in the success of instituting genuine autonomy in the south that serves as a political solution in addressing the decades-old conflict and peace-building to resolve the Bangsamoro right to self-determination.

We call on our fellow youth, as among the prime movers to have an informed perspective on the Bangsamoro in building an environment of mutual respect, cultural tolerance and humane society.

In the same light, unity is also important to all stakeholders of the peace process. Our diversity as a Filipino people—in religion or ethnicity— is a gift that is weaved by our common aspiration for peace and progress. Together, let us be critical and vigilant in appreciating the merits of the BBL that will be opened to the public and undergo deliberations and consultations by Congress.

Once the BBL is open to the public, we call on our fellows in the civil society to engage in a productive dialogue as we make yesterday’s dream of a just and lasting peace a reality of today and tomorrow.

Just peace for all In Shaa Allah.