PASAY CITY, August 27, 2018 – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on Sunday emphasized the importance of getting the support of the people in establishing the new Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

“Napakahalaga ang tulong ng Liga ng mga Barangay, dahil kailangan natin ang suporta from the ground,” he said in a video message to barangay leaders attending the “Forum on the Bangsamoro Organic Law with the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas Mindanao Chapter: Partners in Promoting Peace in the Bangsamoro” held at the SMX Convention Center in this city.

“‘Pagdating ng panahon ‘pag walang suporta ang taong bayan, walang mangyayari sa ginagawa natin,” he added.

(If the people do not support the BOL, our efforts would have been for nothing.)

“Ang barangay is the basic and lowest government unit at duon nanggagaling talaga ang suporta ng taong-bayan. We would like to thank you dahil sa pamamagitan ng inyong organization (Liga ng mga Barangay), nangyayari ‘tong ginagawa natin para mai-sulong ang dream ng Bangsamoro,” Dureza said.

(The barangay is the basic and lowest government unit where the people’s support really comes from. We would like to thank you because through your organization, we are doing what we can to push for the Bangsamoro dream.)

Meanwhile, Government Implementing Panel Chair Nabil Tan urged Mindanao barangay leaders to become partners in creating an “informed constituency” on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

In his message, Tan appealed to the Mindanao village leaders to help build strong support from the ground in ratifying the BOL.

“We want you to partner with us in founding an informed constituency that has a balanced information and understanding on what this law is all about,” he said.

For his part, Mohagher Iqbal, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Implementing Panel Chair, reiterated the MILF’s commitment to peace.

“The government and MILF were together towards a common goal and that is for peace, justice, and development in the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Iqbal said the MILF’s vision was a BOL that would lay the foundation for political, economic, and social institutions that will facilitate the reforms needed in the region.

“Without community and collective support, we cannot reach our final aspiration on charting our political future, economic, cultural, and social development. Regardless of one’s tribe, religion, and political affiliations, all inhabitants of the Bangsamoro shall be united in this law,” he said.

Rallying behind Tan and Iqbal were champions from Congress who voted in support of the law.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III sent a message to the gathering urging “all Mindanaoans to support BOL.”

“This is our answer to what I would like to call the Mindanao situation where our Muslim brothers and sisters have been asking for their right to govern themselves,” he said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said the BOL is an expression of the government’s commitment to the peace process.

“The BOL can mean many things to different people, but to me, it simply means giving peace a chance,” she said in a message read for her by a member of her executive staff.

In a message also read by her executive staff, Anak Mindanao Party List Representative Amihilda Sangcopan said she was reminded of the marathon deliberations during the BOL’s approval in the Bicameral Conference Committee meetings.

“It was a tediously productive, morning to after midnight, six-day BiCam conference. Salute to all members, secretariat of the legislature, other government agencies, NGOs, CSOs, POs, and the stakeholders for their untiring support and constant hope for peace in the homeland,” she said.

Maguindanao 1st District Rep. Bai Sandra Sema encouraged the local chiefs to support the BOL in a democratic way.

“Napaka-sarap mamuhay sa isang barangay na naaayon sa sarili nating pamumuhay. Ito po ang pakay ng BOL. Bilang pinuno ng mga barangay, dapat natin itong suportahan – isang demokratikong pamamaraan upang sugpuin ang karahasan sa ating lupa,” she said.

(It feels great to live in a village that is according to your ways of life. This is what the BOL is aiming for. As leaders among your respective villages, we must support BOL – a democratic way of quenching violence committed to our land.)

In addition to the call of support, Bangsamoro Transition Commissioners Jose Lorena, Raissa Jajurie, Ibrahim Ali, Maisara Dandamun-Latiph, Hatimil Hassan, Hussein Munoz, Romeo Saliga, Omar Yasser Sema, and Said Shiek discussed the salient points of the BOL.

They explained what fiscal autonomy can do to the Bangsamoro region and answered questions posed by the local chiefs during the open forum.

The participants ended the session with the signing of a manifesto supporting the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. ###