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OPAPP, COMELEC, BTC ink partnership on voter awareness on BOL plebiscite

MANILA, December 21, 2018 —  The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) led by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. signed on Friday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) for the conduct of an information, education, and communication campaign on the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on January 21 and February 6, 2019.

The MOA, which was signed by Galvez, COMELEC Commissioner Al A. Parreño, and BTC Chairman Ghazali Jaafar, will identify the responsibilities of each party in the preparation and implementation of the voters awareness campaign in the plebiscite areas.

“With this new partnership in conducting IECs or voters education that we are about to formalize with the COMELEC, I’m very confident that we will be able to ensure that the public and the voters will have correct and timely information on the conduct of the plebiscite,” Galvez said.

He also said the partnership will ensure the smooth conduct of the plebiscite.

“We promise that this will be a fair and honest election. We will be giving all the Bangsamoro people their free will to choose where they want to belong.” he said.

The ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a legal document that honors all signed peace agreements with the Moro fronts, will be conducted through a plebiscite in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City, and Isabela City on January 21, 2019.

On the other hand, the plebiscite for Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, and areas whose petition for inclusion will be granted by the COMELEC, is scheduled on February 6, 2019.

In a press conference, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said there have been reports of disinformation being circulated in the plebiscite areas.

“The biggest disinformation we have is the news going around  that people should show an ID to vote.” he said.

Jimenez said the partnership will help combat the spread of wrong information.

“As we get closer to the plebiscite, we need to augment (the voter education and information) efforts. Nakikipagtulungan ang COMELEC sa OPAPP at BTC para mapaigting ang ating kampanya,” he said.

(The COMELEC will work with OPAPP and the BTC to enhance this campaign.)

Parreño, who is in charge of the Committee on the Bangsamoro plebiscite, said COMELEC is almost ready for the conduct of the plebiscite, with most of its obligations stated in the BOL already fulfilled.

In his message, COMELEC Chairman Sheriff M. Abbas guaranteed  a clean and honest conduct of the plebiscite.

“I will assure that the COMELEC will be fair in the upcoming plebiscite. I will see to it na hindi madadaya ang mga boto sa plebisito,” he said.

(I will see to it that there will be no cheating in the plebiscite.)

For his part, Jaafar said the partnership is “another milestone in guaranteeing credibility, orderliness and acceptability in the the plebiscite.”

He also called on OPAPP and the COMELEC to help prevent threats and intimidation that may happen during the exercise.

“We appeal to Secretary (Galvez)  and COMELEC na sana hindi mangyari ang mga ganitong pangyayari tuwing election sa mga lugar namin,” he said.

(We appeal to Secretary Galvez and COMELEC to prevent these incidents that happen  every there is an election in our areas.)

In the MOA, OPAPP will prepare and provide voter information, education, and communication (IEC) materials and assist the COMELEC and the BTC in the conduct of information dissemination activities for the BOL plebiscite.

COMELEC on the other hand will supervise the conduct of voter IEC on the plebiscite, including sectoral campaigns for indigenous communities, women, youth, religious, professionals, and public and private sector employees in every barangay, municipality, city and province where the plebiscite is to be conducted.

Aside from assisting OPAPP in the preparation of IEC materials, BTC will provide resource persons who will present a balanced picture of the ratification of the BOL during the conduct of voter IEC and  provide the COMELEC technical assistance in the conduct of the IEC.

 

By | December 21st, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Galvez officially assumes as Presidential Peace Adviser

PASIG CITY, December 21, 2018 — Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who officially assumed as the new Presidential Peace Adviser on Thursday, said his experiences in armed conflict have made him more determined to choose peace in trying to solve political disputes in the country.

“Have you seen the tears of a dying man? I did many times… It is very painful,” he said during the handover rites at the main office of the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“We cannot go back to war anymore,” he added.

Galvez said some critics “have pointed out that I come from an institution that manufactures war machines.”

“But let me tell you, having been in the military for decades made me see the ugly head of armed conflict. In my early days in the military service, I was wounded in a battle somewhere in the Davao area. That experience has made me choose the path of peace,” he said.

In his farewell speech, former Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said he has “great confidence” that he is handing over the reins of OPAPP ‘to someone I have known… for a long time.”

“There is no other person who can deal with peace than a person who faces war daily in his life as a military person,” he said.

Galvez, who assumed as the 11th Presidential Peace Adviser, is not the first retired general to lead OPAPP.

The first military man to assume the position of peace adviser was General Manuel Yan, who later became an ambassador.

It was under Secretary Yan that the Final Peace Agreement between the government and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was signed.

Other military men who served as Presidential Peace Adviser were General Eduardo Ermita and General Hermogenes Esperon.

General Avelino Razon, a former chief of police, was also named peace adviser.

Other former top military men also led the government peace panels in the peace negotiations.

Critical crossroad

Galvez thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for the trust and confidence given to him, saying he will do his best to be a good Secretary as the entire peace processes in the country is “at the critical crossroad.”

“We have the plebiscite in Mindanao to win. We have also newly President Duterte’s EO 70 to accomplish. And we have other equally important peace tables that we need to continue to engage with,” he said.

EO 70, which Duterte signed on December 4, 2018, directs the adoption of a national peace framework and institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach to attain “inclusive and sustainable peace” in the country to address the root causes of the armed conflict.

At the same time, Galvez vowed to institute reforms at OPAPP, saying the bottom line is that the agency needs to deliver the services the public deserves.

“Checks and balances, along with fairness, transparency and accountability, will be the cornerstones of my policies as we restructure our organization,” he said.

“I’m committing myself to be a good Secretary. I’ll put my honor, integrity, and position on the line,” he added.

###

By | December 21st, 2018|CPP-NPA-NDF, MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Women of Mamasapano declare support for BOL

BRYG. TUKANALIPAO, MAMASAPANO, MAGUINDANAO — For about two hours, more than 200 residents, mostly women clad in Tundong (Muslim headdress), sat and listened as a speaker explained to them the salient provisions of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

A majority of them were mothers with children in tow. Some were nursing small babies, while others were leafing through reading materials. The elder ones exchanged views in the vernacular in hushed tones.  

There were also young students from a nearby Madrassah (Muslim school) who were part of the huge crowd gathered at the barangay gymnasium. They, too, knew that something important was taking place.

Regardless of their personal motivations in attending the event, all of them had one thing in common: they wanted to learn how the BOL can help improve their well-being and bring long-lasting peace to their community.

The women of Mamasapano have been witness to the ravages of war. Three years ago, the village was the sight of an armed encounter between members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Although that fateful day will forever be etched in the memory of residents, they have learned to move on and are now in the process of healing and rebuilding their lives.

The Multi-Stakeholder Forum on RA 11054 or the BOL, organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), became an opportunity for the people to understand how the law will help prevent the recurrence of armed clashes in the area and across Mindanao.

In his presentation during the forum, Romeo Saliga, commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), said the BOL recognizes the struggle of the Bangsamoro people to assert their identity within the region.

“This is not an ordinary law. The BOL aims to finally put an end to the armed conflict in Mindanao,” he said.

Saliga explained that the law has three major objectives: establish the Bangsamoro entity which shall be called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), set up the governance structure, and provide people with meaningful self-governance.

Saliga also emphasized that the law will not impose a cultural, religious, or political identify among those residing in the region.

The law, he stressed, is inclusive and gives due recognition to the rights of non-Moro residents such as indigenous peoples (IPs) and Christians.

According to Saliga, a Transitional Justice System will also be put in place in order to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people.

Specifically, he said those affected by unjust dispossession of territorial and proprietary rights or customary land tenure shall be provided with adequate reparation.

This reparation, Saliga said, may include just compensation and relocation, which may be availed of by those who have been affected by armed conflict.

For Zuhnea Kudos, 46, the multi-stakeholder forum was an eye-opener.

Malaking tulong ang forum na ito sa amin (This forum has been a big help to us),” Kudos said, adding she will echo what she had learned from the gathering and help campaign for the BOL’s ratification to be held on January 21, 2018 in the proposed core territory.

On the other hand, the plebiscite for Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and areas whose petition for inclusion will be granted by the COMELEC, is scheduled on February 6, 2019.

Gusto namin ng kapayapaan. Lahat kami dito sa Mamasapano boboto ng yes (We want peace. All of us here in Mamasapano will vote for yes,” she said.

Kalid Ladsak, 64, believes the landmark measure will help strengthen their cultural identity as a people.

Dahil isa akong Bangsamoro, tutulong akong mangampanya ng yes (Because I am a Bangsamoro, I will help campaign for the yes vote),” Ladsak said.

Mas maganda pag may BOL. Magkakaroon na ng tunay na kapayapaan at kaunlaran dito sa amin (It is better to have the BOL. There will be genuine peace and development here in our community),” he said. ###

By | December 19th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Women peace registry, to advance women, peace, security in the ASEAN

MACTAN ISLAND, Cebu, December 16, 2018 – Around 60 women leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States gathered here in December 13, 2018 to share their narratives, knowledge, and experiences in gender mainstreaming as well as hone women’s capacities in their respective countries to contribute in building sustainable peace within the ASEAN.

A fruit of the partnership between the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the ASEAN Women, the “Symposium on the Establishment of the ASEAN Women for Peace Registry (AWPR)” included topics on the role of women in peace and security, women’s achievements, and the promotion of respect for human dignity and human rights under the context of peace reconciliation and conflict resolution.

During her part on the Operationalizing the “Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in ASEAN,” OPAPP Undersecretary Diosita T. Andot reaffirmed the Philippine government’s commitment on the AWPR to advance the WPS agenda in the country.

“We remain committed in ensuring that the Philippine National Action Plan (PNAP) is fully and adequately implemented particularly in the conflict affected zones in keeping with our core belief that the meaningful participation of women in various levels of governance, leadership, and in program formulation and implementation is instrumental in transforming the vulnerable sector to become valuable and viable instruments of conflict transformation,” Andot said.

 

The symposium also identified action plans for ASEAN as well as the respective ASEAN Member States to effectively implement the Joint Statement on WPS.

These included strategies to be employed for the protection of women as well as programs and activities that will strengthen and promote the interests and welfare of women and vulnerable sectors in situations of conflict.

One of the main commitments of the Joint Statement was to continue addressing the root causes of armed conflicts such as poverty, discrimination, gender inequality, social injustice, economic, and social exclusion of persons and communities vulnerable to and at risk of radicalization, violent extremism, and terrorism.

In the Philippine setting, the PNAPWPS contributed to the expansion of women’s role in the peace process, conflict transformation, and protection of their human rights in conflict situations.

These were operationalized during the Marawi City siege last year which brought about the meaningful participation of women in different ways such as the formation and deployment of joint female members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police known as the Hijab Troopers, the conduct of regular dialogues and town hall meetings from women in Marawi communities and civil society organizations, and the establishment of Women Friendly Spaces and Women Children Protection Desks.

“It takes intensive networking and coordination to leverage the role of international development partners and recognize their critical contribution to advancing the WPS agenda. On this aspect, we need to improve some more and strengthen our collaboration, monitoring and evaluation.” Andot said.

The event was organized by the ASEAN through its Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, in partnership with OPAPP, Ateneo de Manila University, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

By | December 16th, 2018|NAPWPS, News|0 Comments

MNLF Central Committee urges Tawi-Tawi residents to say ‘yes’ to BOL

BONGAO, TAWI-TAWI, December 13, 2018 – Close to a thousand Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leaders and their families, along with community women and youth leaders, gathered at the MSU Prep High Gymnasium for the MNLF assembly in December 11, 2018 organized by the MNLF Central Committee to increase public understanding of the provisions of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“Naniniwala ang liderato ng MNLF na ang BOL ay reflective ng provisions ng 1996 Peace agreement,” Romeo Sema, Vice Chairperson for Internal Affairs MNLF-CC, told those in attendance.

(The MNLF leadership believes that the BOL is reflective of the provisions of the 1996 Peace agreement)

Sema said the MNLF leadership also recognizes that the BOL is the product of the sacrifices of both the MNLF and MILF.

“Isa lang dapat ang solusyon sa Bangsamoro people. Hindi lang ito para sa MILF, hindi lang ito para sa gobyerno. Para ito sa buong Bangsamoro,” he added.

(There should only be one solution to the [issue of] the Bangsamoro people. The BOL is not just for the MILF, or the government. This is for the Bangsamoro people.)

The local government unit of Bongao through the office of Municipal Mayor Jimuel Que has pledged its support for the ratification of the BOL and called on the constituents to ratify it in the upcoming plebiscite.

“The mayor supports and trusts this law. Let us do our duty and vote ‘yes’ to the BOL,” Secretary to the Mayor Kinlene Aming-Sabaani said.

Commissioner Jose Lorena of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) also called on the people to ratify the BOL on January 21, 2019. ###

By | December 13th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

‘Hijab troopers’ go nationwide

TAGUIG CITY, December 12, 2018 — The “Hijab Troopers” program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be implemented nationwide after the successful deployment during the Marawi siege last year.

Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., Head of the Civil Military Operations (CMO) Regiment, said the women in uniform will be deployed in core areas in the National Capital Region, namely CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela City) and Maharlika Village, to provide cultural and psychosocial services in urban communities.

Kung gusto niyong ipagpatuloy ang trabaho ninyo as Hijab Troopers, mayroon tayong isang kumpanya na organic sa CMO Regiment and we are still continuing the type of work that we are doing in Marawi City,” Brawner told around 50 Hijab Troopers during the recognition program held for them on Monday.

(If you want to continue your tasks as Hijab Troopers, we have an organic company in the CMO Regiment available for you. We are still continuing the type of work that we are doing in Marawi City.)

The Hijab Troopers were each given a Military Merit Medal by Philippine Army Commanding General Macairog Alberto.

In her keynote message, Undersecretary Diosita Andot from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process seconded Brawner’s encouragement.

“My bias ako towards women empowerment, so I encourage you to accept Colonel Brawner’s challenge,” she said.

“As women in uniform, you are already in the task of peacekeeping. At alam ko na with the job that you are doing within the internally displaced peoples’ (IDP) camps nagagawa niyo na rin ‘yong peacemaking and peacebuilding,” Andot added.

(As women in uniform, you are already in the task of peacekeeping. But I know that with the job you are doing in the IDP camps, you can also do peacemaking and peacebuilding as well.)

By | December 12th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|2 Comments

Thousands bat for “Yes” victory in Bangsamoro plebiscite

COTABATO CITY, December 10, 2018 — Tens of thousands of supporters all over Mindanao rallied behind the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) today during the kick-off assembly for the plebiscite campaign held at the Office of the Regional Governor Compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in this city.

Clad in shirts printed with “Yes to BOL,” supporters from eight different provinces flooded the streets of Cotabato City to call for a resounding victory in the upcoming plebiscite scheduled on January 21 and February 6, 2019.

In his message, Government Peace Implementing Panel Chair Undersecretary Nabil A. Tan emphasized the dividends of peace the law will bring to the region, which had been beset by decades of conflict.

Ito ay para sa kapayapaan, permanent peace na matagal na natin minimithi para sa Mindanao,” he said.

(This is for peace, permanent peace that we have been dreaming of for Mindanao).

His counterpart from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Chair Mohagher Iqbal, said the law’s inclusive provisions ensure that every sector will benefit in the Bangsamoro region.

Para ito sa lahat. Walang maiiwan, ito ay para sa ating lahat,” he said.

(This is for all. No one will be left behind. This is for all of us.)

The campaign period for the plebiscite started on December 7 with peace rallies from all over the country including here in Cotabato City and Manila. The campaign period will end on January 19, 2019.


MILF, MNLF unite for BOL

The leadership of both the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) vowed to campaign aggressively for the law in their respective communities.

In a message read by Bangsamoro National People’s Congress Chair Muslimin Sema, current MNLF Central Committee Chair Yusop Jikiri urged the Bangsamoro to continue their peaceful efforts towards realization of Bangsamoro aspirations.

“We rewrite the history books to instill in the minds of those that will come after us that the demand for a just, dignified, and lasting peace requires revisiting the past before facing the future,” he said. “We rewrite the history books to end centuries of hatred, mistrust, and injustice that caused and affected the lives of millions of Filipinos.”

MILF Chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim, meanwhile, narrated the Bangsamoro’s struggle for peace and recognition of their identity as he urged everyone to give BOL a chance to succeed.

“I don’t think that there will be another law if BOL fails. (So) I appeal to everyone to be objective in evaluating BOL,” he said.


Overwhelming sectoral support seen for the plebiscite campaign

Various sectoral leaders pledged to support and campaign for the BOL to advance peace and development in the region

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman threw his full support for the campaign as he urged the Bangsamoro to participate in the campaign and the plebiscite.

Tandaan po natin, kayo ang makapangyarihan sa January 21. Hindi mabubuo ang BOL kung wala kayo,” he said.

(Let us remember that on January 21, the power is in your hands. The creation of BOL will not be possible without you).

Fr. Clifford Baira said Christian communities will support the new Bangsamoro region.

“Our simple formula is to engage the people of the Bangsamoro. Let them be part of the governance in the inclusive quest for peace in Mindanao,” he said.

Upi, Maguindanao Mayor and representative from the indigenous people Ramon Piang Sr. gave assurance that the Lumad will step up their campaign for the plebiscite.

Representatives from the youth, traditional leaders, women, and the business community also committed to campaign for the law in their respective communities.

The plebiscite will be held in two dates, first in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City, and Isabela City on January 21, 2019.

For Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, including the barangays that filed their petitions to join the BARMM granted by the COMELEC, the plebiscite will be held on February 6, 2019. ###

 

By | December 10th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Cordi legislator commits to make HB 5343 more inclusive; welcomes enhancements to the law

BAGUIO CITY (December 7, 2018) — One of the leading proponents of HB 5343,“An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC),” has committed to incorporating recommendations coming from the area’s indigenous peoples into the proposed bill in order to truly reflect their hopes and aspirations.

“I would like to assure you that there is enough time for us to consider whatever (proposals) you will present to us,” Baguio City Representative Mark Go said in his remarks during the opening of the Indigenous People’s Legislative Assembly in the Cordillera Administrative Region (IPLA-CAR) for Regional Autonomy.

“I am committed to wait for your inputs prior to the approval in the Technical Working Group (TWG) of this proposed bill,” Go added.

Go was among the seven Cordilleran members of Congress who co-authored HB 5343, which was filed in Congress in March last year.

The legislator’s statement was met with applause by the more than 100 IP delegates coming from the region’s six provinces who are attending the three-day event.

Organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)-IP Peace Panel and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) with support from the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), the assembly aims to obtain proposals from the region’s IPs on how the pending bill can be further enhanced, specifically provisions that impact on the rights and welfare of the IPs.

According to Go, who is the chair of the TWG that was constituted in the Lower House for the purpose of introducing improvements to HB 5343, the conduct of the IPLA-CAR is both relevant and timely in light of recent developments.

“Today’s activity is important and an opportunity because this is a complete effort from you, [specially for] members of indigenous communities to participate in the crafting of the proposed measure,” he said.

“This indeed is an opportune time to [make] amendments to the proposed bill,” he added.

Go said the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution had a compelling reason for identifying Cordillera as among the two regions in the country that should be granted autonomy.

“Section 15, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution was created because of common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic resource structures and other relevant characteristics of the geographic area and its people,” he said.

Go mentioned that the consultations previously conducted by his office on the proposed law were mostly participated in by local government officials.

“It’s time that we hear from you (IPs). This time, we will be hearing directly from the grassroots. We want to be sure that when we bring this (HB 5343) back to you for approval, it will be approved,” he said.

“I believe that this (law) is a means to secure sustainable development for the region which has been put on hold for too long now,” he added.

HB 5343 should, first and foremost, protect the ancestral domain rights of the IPs, he said.  

Prior to the legislative assembly, the OPAPP-IP Peace Panel and NCIP spearheaded a series of provincial consultations in Ifugao, Benguet, Kalinga, Apayao, and Mountain Province as well as in Baguio City.

Each of the legislative consultations was attended by more than a hundred IP delegates.

The consultations were thematic and focused on key provisions in the autonomy bill that pertained to land and natural resources, governance and representation, and cultural rights.

“I was told that the delegates who are here today represent the different ethnolinguistic groups in the entire region,” Go said.

“Cordillera definitely deserves to be given autonomy because [although] we have varied cultures, this (assembly) is proof that we can attain unity [despite our] diversity,” he added. ###

 

By | December 7th, 2018|News|0 Comments

BOL campaign starts Dec 7

COTABATO CITY, December 6, 2018 — Officials of the government and the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) urged residents of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to take part in the plebiscites early next year as the official campaign period for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) starts on Friday, December 7.

This as Atty. Rey Sumalipao, Regional Director of the Commission on Elections, announced that the  COMELEC is now ready to “have honest and orderly” plebiscites on January 21 and February 6, 2019.

“We will work to have clean elections,” Sumalipao said during a media forum here organized by the Joint Communications Committee of the government and the MILF.

The plebiscite will be held in two dates, first in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato City and Isabela City on January 21, 2019.

For Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato, including the towns and barangays that filed their petitions to join the BARMM granted by the COMELEC, the plebiscite will be held on February 6, 2019.

If the BOL is ratified, the ARMM will be replaced by the BARMM, giving more political power to the Bangsamoro people to govern their ancestral lands.

The BOL is a product of a series of peace agreements between the Philippine Government and various Moro fronts. While it is largely anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – a peace deal between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – the new law for the Bangsamoro reflects and builds upon the gains of previous Moro peace agreements since the 1970s.

A major campaign rally will be launched in this city on Monday, with thousands expected to attend the first salvo of the campaign for the ratification of the BOL.

At the media forum, former Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza allayed the concerns of the people over the establishment of the new BARMM.

“The BOL is not only for the Moro fronts, it is for all and it is inclusive,” he said.

Dureza said he will actively campaign for the BOL and the peace processes in the country in his private capacity.

“We should continue to support this effort and if we don’t get this last chance with President (Rodrigo Roa Duterte) we may never have it again in the future,” he said.

He encouraged the supporters to “go to areas where we need strong voices.”

“I’ll be supporting my peace partners and the advocacy even in my personal capacity,” he said.

Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel and member of BTC, called on the people to ratify the law, saying this will address the clamor of the Bangsamoro people for self-governance.

“The BOL is for the welfare not only of the Bangsamoro people but (also of) non-Muslims residing in the Bangsamoro areas,” he said. “The BOL is a formula for peace, development, and progress.”

The BTC commissioners were one in saying the people should give the BOL a chance.

Commissioner Jose Lorena said the people in the Bangsamoro area stand to benefit from security and economic development that will be fostered by the BOL.

“The BOL will put an end to the conflict dahil nagkasundo ang mga revolutionary movements. It will put an end to the marginalization that we have and it will provide an effective governance for the region,” he said.

Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph said the BOL is not an ordinary legislation but “ a peace document.”

Commissioner Susana Anayatin said the BOL recognizes the aspirations and articulations of the Moros in the past peace agreements as well as those expressed during the series of public consultations.

“The idea is that the BOL embraces everyone and is inclusive to all,” she said.

The law provides exercise of meaningful autonomy for the Moro people by charting their own political future through a democratic process. It also guarantees fiscal autonomy to the Bangsamoro Government by the provision of a block grant, greater share in local taxes and revenues obtained from natural resources, and a special development fund to enable the region to catch up with neighboring regions in Mindanao.  ###

 

By | December 6th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Peace Education among top priorities in the new Bangsamoro Government

COTABATO CITY, December 6, 2018 — “Kung gusto natin ng kapayapaan, simulan natin sa silid-aralan (If we want peace, let’s start in the classroom).”

This was emphasized by Commissioner Susana Anayatin of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) during the sectoral forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Wednesday here in this city.

Saying the education sector holds a vital role in shaping the minds of the youth, Anayatin urged school officials to support the advocacy for peace provided in the BOL.

“The Bangsamoro Government shall institutionalize peace education in all levels. Sa magiging curriculum natin, i-mainstream na iyong framework of peace such as respect for human rights, conflict resolution, alternative dispute resolution, and environmental care,” Anayatin said.

In September 2006, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Executive Order 570 which requires elementary and secondary schools all over the country to include peace education in their curriculum.

Anayatin, however, said past administrations failed to fully implement the order especially in public schools.

Ang karamihan po sa sumunod doon ay private schools. Sa Bangsamoro, susundin po natin ang kautusan na iyon. Di po iyan bagong kautusan pero inilagay natin sa batas (It was mostly implemented by private schools. In the Bangsamoro, we will follow this order. It’s not a new order but it’s something we placed in the law),” she added.

Anayatin said this measure will prevent the recruitment of the youth to violent extremist groups.

Maraming kabataan ang di nakakapag-aral. Iyong iba naging rebelde, iyong iba naging terorista na ngayon. Iyong nangyari sa Marawi, mga professionals ang ibang nandoon. Bakit? Sapagkat nawawalan na sila ng tiwala sa gobyerno,” Anayatin said.

(A lot of young people are not able to go to school anymore. Some become rebels, others terrorists. Those who laid siege to Marawi included professionals. Why? Because they lost trust in government.)

For his part, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Nabil Tan urged the participants through a video message to maximize the opportunity as they play a vital role in passing on information about the landmark measure.

The same sentiment was shared by Edgar Sumapal, OIC Assistant of Cotabato City Schools Division.

“As an educator and school leader, it is incumbent upon us to provide accurate information about the BOL,” Sumapal said.

The forum, which was attended by around 100 officials and administrators from Cotabato City Schools Division, was held to provide updates on the conduct of the plebiscite and shed light on the pressing issues surrounding the BOL.

Among the resource speakers present during the forum were BTC Commissioners Mohagher Iqbal, Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph, Ibrahim Ali, and Atty. Lanang Ali.

 

By | December 6th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|1 Comment