[Statement] Peace in Mindanao within our grasp with BBL -Balay

Peace in Mindanao within our grasp with BBL

Balay Rehabilitation Center expressed its hopes for processes of healing, peace and justice in Mindanao at it joins Moro, indigenous peoples and settlers of Mindanao in monitoring Congress deliberations for the targeted passage of a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress this week.

“Peace has been elusive but it is now in our grasp. Balay has worked to provide psychosocial support for those who have suffered the most from armed conflict in Mindanao—children affected by conflict, internally displaced persons, among others – and for their sake and the sake of all communities in the affected areas, we pray that the Bangsamoro Basic Law being discussed in Congress will reflect the spirit of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that articulates the imperative to address historical injustices to pave the way to genuine peace,” says Josephine Lascano, Balay executive director.

“This is not a Mindanao issue. Peace in Mindanao will benefit Philippine society as a whole and pave the way for the realization of our common aspirations for peace and development,” Lascano added.

Lascano urged legislators to support the salient features of the BBL drafted by the Bangsamoro Transitional Commission (BTC) as it underwent substantial public consultations and has the support of various communities.

Among the features of the BTC-BBL are the following provisions:

– The creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that government and the MILF signed in March 2014 after years of peace negotiations;

– A basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people;

– Democratic processes that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for meaningful self-governance;

-A Bangsamoro government less dependent on the central government in revenue generation and control over the use and disposition of the natural resources;

-Assurance of the participation of Non-Moro Indigenous People and Christian Settler communities for the protection of their rights and welfare, including providing for their reserved seats in the Bangsamoro Parliament; and

– Ensure women, youth, traditional leaders and other sectors’ right to participation in governance in the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) and in the regular Bangsamoro Government;

-Creation of a Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission.

The BBL is the legal expression of the political agreement, the CAB, that government and the MILF signed on March 27, 2014, to pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity that would replace the (ARMM).

The establishment of the Bangsamoro shall undergo a process of ratification wherein residents of the core territories and neighbouring areas shall be asked if they will join the new political entity.

There are five versions of the BBL pending in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Authenticated by Rebecca Lozada
Balay Advocacy Officer (0917-5362638)

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