North Cotabato residents manifest support to BBL PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 09:12

Thousands of villagers from different North Cotabato towns converged on Sunday and pledged support en masse to the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The North Cotabato folks staged a “peace rally” at the town proper of Pigcawayan in the first district of the province, where dignitaries, among them government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, talked lengthily about the importance of the draft BBL.

The bill is premised on the two compacts between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the October 15, 2013 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

Both agreements, which are products of 17 years of negotiations, were signed by Ferrer, and her MILF counterpart, Muhaquer Iqbal.

Speakers in the Pigcawayan peace rally also clarified what is for them wrong notion that the Bangsamoro homeland, under a self-governing Bangsamoro political entity, could become a puritan Islamic state owing to its envisioned political powers and asymmetrical relations with the national government.

The rally was organized by local executives, religious and political leaders and various peace advocacy groups involved in various community projects in different parts of North Cotabato.

North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza had issued a prior press communiqué acknowledging the importance and propriety of the peace rally.

In her statement, Mendoza emphasized that the event can help people outside of the province understand better the real sentiments and the common desire by local folks for lasting peace in the area.

“Peaceful dialogues and peace assemblies are the best means of consolidating ideas on how North Cotabato’s tri-people, which is comprised of Muslims, indigenous lumad sectors and Christians, can build lasting peace in the province, as one big peaceful family,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza is a staunch supporter of President Benigno Aquino III’s peace efforts in Moro communities in the country’s south.

A senior member of the North Cotabato provincial board, Kelly Antao, said there is no truth to assertions by people from outside of North Cotabato that provincial leaders and most local executives in the province are against the draft BBL.

“That is not true. Our provincial governor and her constituent–leaders, including me, are for peaceful means of resolving the Moro issue,” Antao said.