Threshing out skeptics from the Bangsamoro Basic Law issues went hard even with sympathizers dominating the audience of 150 during yesterdayâ€™sÂ Mindanao History Session: “Balik Tanaw sa Kasaysayan” conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today (June 2) at the MetroCentre Hotel in Tagbilaran City.
CODE-NGO Project Manager Mhafe Del Mundo explained that they initiated the activity to get the pulse of Bohol on BBL and relay it to Congress through Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, although it became a concern during the forum that the invited members of different civil society organizations were all pro-BBL.
Del Mundo pointed out that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process has nothing to do with the activity, except that their information materials had been obtained from OPAPP, as they have no enough budget for the reproduction of the materials.
She said CODE-NGO felt the need to disseminate the positive side of BBL and for them who understood it have to reach out to the peopleâ€”an undertaking that need the support of OPAPP in terms of the availability of the information materials.
Del Mundo explained that had been ready to receive negative reactions in their campaign to make the people aware of the positive side of the BBL.
For her part, Lawyer Sittie Amirah Pendatunâ€”legal team member of the GPH Peace Panel explained that all-out war could be more costly than pursuing the BBL.
She also emphasized â€œthe social costs such as disruption of life, displacement, enculturation of war, inter-generational trauma, animosities and biases formed around the Moslem-Christian divideâ€.
Pendatun also tackledÂ constitutionality of BBL, citing provision of the Constitution which the few anti-BBL present during the forum understood as the provision intended for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
SheÂ also explained that the BBL has been intended to address the concern on inequality that had taken toll on the benefits due the indigenous people.
Also, it has never been intended to separate the Bangsamoro territory from the Republic of the Philippines, she added.
According to Pendatun, consultations had actually been conducted, although she admitted it was impossible to get the sentiment of each of the millions of Filipinos in the archipelago.
She also said the BBL could correct the mistakes of ARMM.
Another speaker,Â Balay Rehab Inc. Project Officer Analisa Ugay, presented the historical background and root causes of the Mindanao Conflict.
Ugay noted that whenever a Moslem figures in an incident, he is mentioned as Moro, while a Christian in the same situation is indicated by his name.
She also emphasized that â€œMoro areas have never been conquered by Spanish rule, but Spain sold the Philippines–including Moro areas to the US and that the US waged massive violence in Moro areas where massacres of Moros occurred with no authoritative documentation of the losses and impacts of such campaignsâ€.
Ugay also tackled how the â€œUS systematically displaced Moros and Lumads through the Homestead Law by incentivizing migration of Filipinos from Luzon and Visayas to Mindanao and allowing them to register lands without consultation of existing inhabitantsâ€.
â€œSince the independence of the Philippines, no administration has provided a viable act in reparation for what she described as historical injustices and have even caused further social injustices through neglect and marginalization,â€ she claimed.
Ugay cited the Jabidah Massacre as the trigger of the formation of MNLF, as she also traced the start of the Moro secessionist movement.
The 150 participants comprised of members of non-government organizations under the umbrella of Bohol Alliance of Non-Government Organizations (BANGON).
BANGON president Emilia Roslinda said she had the impression that OPAPP initiated the activity, contrary to Del Mundoâ€™s statement.
Roslinda showed the copy of the invitation she received that contained the following information:
â€œThe BBL is a long and trending issue which remains unresolved nowadays.
Many questions had been raised especially on the Mamasapano clash which happened on January 25, 2015.
This incident became the catalyst of the re-emergence of sentiments from the Filipino people and for us, Boholanos, and, in fact, many of us become pre-occupied by the pessimism and doubts about the Mindanao conflict and its related issues.
The BBL has been endorsed to Congress by the President of the Philippines and is now being deliberated upon simultaneously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
It is longed that both committees will soon complete their deliberation and submits their committee reports for plenary deliberation, subsequently the vote for the passage of the proposed BBL.
If needed, a bicameral body shall be convened to thresh out differences in stands and opinions.
Then the reconciled BBL will be submitted to President Aquino for signing into law.
It is imperative that the resulting BBL will be faithful to the provisions of the CAB.
The referendum would then be conducted when in all affected constituents shall cast their votes in pursuit or denial of inclusion into the Bangsamoro Political entity (BPE).
All of these should happen hopefully before the national and local elections in 2016.
Considering the present situation which we are facing at hand, the Office of the Presidential [Adviser (mispelled as Assistance)] for Peace Process (OPAPP) is giving this opportunity through caucus on Development of NGOs and CENVISNET to an orientation/training on â€œMindanao History Session: â€œBalik Tanaw sa Kasaysayanâ€ as well as conduct open forum regarding the Bangsamoro Basic Law issues.
The activity will give us an opportunity for the Boholano people to express our view and concerns about the pending issue of the Philippines.
With these, we would like to invite you and 1 of your PO officers to attend the activity on June 2, 2015 at 8:00-5:00 at Metro Centre Hotel, Tagbilaran City.
It is in this venue when we hope we can express our views and concerns as well as to position ourselves regarding the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Transportation cost will be reimbursedâ€.