Bangsamoro will not only bring peace but strengthen country – Iqbal PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:54

Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chair Mohagher Iqbal emphasized on Tuesday the importance of establishing the Bangsamoro during a Senate briefing on the provisions of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, recently filed as Senate Bill 2408.

“This is important because the establishment of the Bangsamoro will end the long-standing conflict that has been the scourge of our people. The conflict has caused untold pain and misery. It has brought poverty and insecurity to our people. It has cost thousands of lives,” Iqbal said.

But,  according to the BTC chair, creating the Bangsamoro will not only bring peace in southern Philippines. “It will also build the country. It will make the Philippines whole.”

The briefing on the proposed BBL was called by Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. who heads the Senate Committee on Local Government, which will deliberate on the Bangsamoro bill jointly with the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation chaired by Senator Teofisto “TG”Guingona III. The joint committee will conduct public hearings and will eventually report and sponsor the Bangsamoro bill during the Senate plenary sessions.

According to Iqbal, the Bangsamoro people “have been kept at the margins of Philippine national life,” and the creation of the Bangsamoro will empower and grant them the “opportunity to participate as real, active citizens of this country.”

“It will spur this country’s development, as it will become an economic hub in an area adjacent to Malaysia, Indonesia,  and Brunei. With peace that the Bangsamoro will bring, there will be more investments, more jobs, more education and more opportunities not just for the Bangsamoro but for the whole country as well.”

More importantly, the BTC chair also noted that the Bangsamoro will be the “best antidote against rising radicalism, as  it will show that there is space for the Bangsamoro in the Philippines.”

Iqbal was joined during the briefing by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, Government of the Philippines peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and members of the legal team of both peace panels.

Aside from Senator Marcos, other lawmakers who joined the briefing on the Bangsamoro bill include Senators Pia Cayetano, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and JV Ejercito.

Peace as legacy

Iqbal called on the Senate to “let peace be our lasting legacy.”

The BTC chair said that “we have a singular opportunity to end suffering, illiteracy, impunity and lawlessness. Let us work hard to make it happen.”

Meanwhile, Deles thanked the senators for giving time to a briefing on the Bangsamoro bill in spite of the hectic schedule of the budget deliberations. “That indicates to us how important this is, and that indicates to us the intent of the Senate as well as the House of Representatives, to not waste time (to act on) examining this bill, on discussing this bill.”

“I think the importance of this bill… has been made clear over and over again,” Deles added.