Basilan holds peace forum with call for support to Bangsamoro region PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 December 2012 14:24

Hundreds of local government officials, employees, students, and members of civil society organizations yesterday gathered at Basilan State College for a “Peace Conference 2012”, with leaders urging the residents to advocate and support the Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

ARMM Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said: “Let us always view that the Bangsamoro is a solution to the peace and development problem in Mindanao, so we have to support it in order to change the living condition of the people and improve the economy in the region.”

Hataman said it is his dream that the Bangsamoro people will be recognized one day or someday. He also assured the government employees especially the teachers that they will not be removed from office even if a new political entity will be established replacing the ARMM.

Soliciting the help of the people in the province not to allow kidnappings in Basilan in order to  improve the image of the government and economic condition of Basilan, the ARMM caretaker stressed that Islam does not support any kidnapping and corruption.

“Tandaan po natin kung mayron man kidnapping at nakawan hindi po iyan utos ng Islam at hindi rin po iyan utos ng Bangsamoro. Kahit may pirmahan o wala nakasalalay pa rin sa mamamayang moro o kapatid nating mga kristiyano at ng mamamayan ng ARMM ang kinabukasan ng Bangsamoro.”

Titiyakin ko sa inyo kahit mayron pirmahan huwag tayong aasa na wala ng mangyayaring kidnapping pero puwede kahit walang pirmahan kung gusto natin walang kidnapping walang nakawan kahit walang Bangsamoro political entity puwedeng matigil itong krimen na ito kung tayo ay magsama sama at mag susuportahan,” Hataman said.

Hataman also stressed that he fully supports the president’s wish for lasting peace in Mindanao. “I support the president’s advocacy for peace to reign in this part of the country.”

The forum delved mainly on the Roadmap of the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in order to attain lasting peace in Mindanao. Speaking in Basilan, GPH representative UP professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer disclosed President Benigno Aquino III strongly supports the framework agreement because if realized it will be one of his legacies under his administration.

Ferrer said under the peace agreement, the ARMM will be changed to a new political entity which is the Bangsamoro.

“One good aspect of the agreement of the Bangsamoro is normalization. And one component is decommissioning where all MILF combatants will put aside their firearms. They will be demobilized wherein they will not carry their firearms,” Ferrer said.

She said the president is set to order the creation of the Transition Commission which is tasked to draft the Bangsamoro basic law and other general features of the framework agreement.

The result of the draft law will be submitted to the House of Representatives for approval of the Organic Act.

Ferrer, a member of the GPH, also explained to the  participants to the forum the concept of the FAB and its contribution to the peace effort of the government  in Mindanao.

According to her, the GPH and the MILF’s technical working group (TWG) are closely working now on the  four annexes -power-sharing, wealth-sharing and normalization. Basilan Governor Jum Akbar enlightened the forum participants on the contribution of the FAB to the  lives of the Basileños in the island province. Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad, on the other hand, said he welcomes the FAB concept hoping that the FAB is a solution to bring peace in the island province.

“We welcome the peace agreement hopefully this could put an end to the many killings of priests and Catholics in the province. We are natives of Basilan and we are brothers and sisters. We should work together for peace and progress of Mindanao,” Jumoad said.

The Bishop recalled the many atrocities like  kidnappings, killings to  members of the  church  and the civilians perpetrated by the rebels operating in the province.

He also enumerated what he called the “painful stories” suffered by the people of the province in the hands of the rebels, hence he said, if the FAB is the answer to stop these atrocities, the Catholic church fully supports the FAB.

Office of  the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Atty. Jose Lorena said the forum was aimed to  enlighten the people here on the content of the FAB at the same time a solicitation on the desire of the  moros in this province.

Most of the resolution which is directed to OPAPP and other national government and international entity is also a big help to them in the government negotiating panel which is also scheduled to meet this month to draft the content of the annex on normalization.