About Mary Francis Rivera

Maffi as her friends call, manages the digital media platforms of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. She is bossy - not in a pejorative way but being bossy and tenacious means she is passionate, goal driven, and ambitious. She loves films, filmmaking, books and anything about design, and hates serif.

Duterte signs Bangsamoro Organic Law

JULY 27, 2018 – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) yesterday, a day after receiving the enrolled bill from Congress on Wednesday night.

Duterte, the first Mindanaoan president, signed the “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” three days after his third State of the Nation Address.

The hallmark piece of legislation is one of his campaign promises to address the centuries-old clamor of the Moro people for self-governance over their ancestral lands in Mindanao.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law is based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – a peace deal that was signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014 under the Aquino government.

The law will strengthen the current autonomy set-up of the region, giving the new Bangsamoro government more control over resources and political power.

Under the new law, the Bangsamoro region will adopt a parliamentary system composed of representatives from different sectors, which also include non-Moro indigenous peoples, women, youth and Christian settlers from the region.

A plebiscite is scheduled to be held later this year throughout the identified five provinces of the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and six other municipalities in Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays in North Cotabato which are outside the domain of ARMM

Thousands of MILF fighters will undergo a decommissioning process. Firearms will be handed over to an international third party, while MILF camps will be transformed into peaceful and unarmed communities.

The leadership of the MILF had earlier commended the Duterte administration for fulfilling its promise to bring peace in Mindanao.

Peace negotiations between the government and the MILF commenced in 1997 a year after the government signed a peace deal with the Moro National Liberation Front in September 1996.

The talks with the MILF formally opened in October 1999 in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

The talks, however, bogged down in 2000 when then-President Joseph Estrada declared “all-out war” against the MILF.

In 2008, under the administration of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain was scheduled to be signed by the government and MILF.

The Supreme Court, however, issued a temporary restraining order against it. This led to major armed conflicts in some parts in Mindanao which displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals.

A major breakthrough was achieved on October 15, 2012 when both parties signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). The FAB outlines the general features of the political settlement between the government and the MILF.

The FAB led to the signing of the CAB.

However, the first version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in 2016 failed to pass the legislative mill over low public support following the Mamasapano incident.

The Duterte administration continued the process by creating a more inclusive Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that will redraft the BBL.

President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 8, increasing the members of the BTC from 15 to 21 to include representatives from the MNLF and other stakeholders on November 2016.

In July 2017, the BTC turned over to President Duterte a newly drafted BBL. Exactly a year later, the Senate and House of Representatives were able to reconcile their respective versions and approve it following a week-long marathon hearing. ###

By | July 27th, 2018|News|0 Comments

BiCam meet for BBL kicks off today

BiCam meet for BBL kicks off today

The Bicameral Conference for the Bangsamoro Basic Law begins today as lawmakers work to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the law at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria.

Nine Senators and 18 members of the House of Representatives compose the Bicameral Conference Committee that will resolve the varying provisions of the House Bill No. 6475 and Senate Bill No. 1717.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza and Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan are also present.

In a statement, Guiamel Alim, Chairperson of Bangsamoro Civil Society, said enacting a BBL that “addresses the root causes of the conflict and provides for meaningful autonomy is not only good for the Bangsamoro, it is also an opportunity for the Philippine Government to show that it is able to address violent conflicts, such as that in Mindanao, through diplomatic means.”

Meanwhile, BTC Commissioner Maisara Damdamun-Latiph called on the lawmakers to strengthen the BBL on the following components:

1.  Fiscal Autonomy by removing the conditions in the Block Grant, making it at par with the IRA of LGUs;

2. Proper allocation of powers in accordance with CAB and not less than ARMM;

3.  Stronger policing in relation to Normalization and Decommissioning;

4. Inland Waters like Lake Lanao in relation to preservation, conservation, power generation, and regulation; and

5. Territory on the Plebiscite of 6 Municipalities of Lanao del Sur and 39 Barangays of North Cotabato in accordance with CAB

6. Bangsamoro identity


By | July 9th, 2018|MILF, News|0 Comments



The Blue Bridge firmly and earnestly supports the immediate passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) with the belief on its unequivocal aspiration of harboring peace on our beloved land of Mindanao. The publication strongly believes that with the full implementation of its signed agreements, the long standing distress of conflicts and violent extremism suffered by the innocent will be addressed and given resolution.

As peace advocates, we believe that the agreement will correct the history of the islands, stained by injustices. We place our faith on the legislators to urgently pass the law to further assemble the foundation of lasting peace that for decades, have constrained the Mindanaons to conflict and inequity.

We urge the student community of Ateneo de Davao University Senior High School to elevate the works  for peace both in offline and online platforms. It is time to liberate the Land of Promise from years of terror brought by divisiveness.

We stand with our brothers and sisters who plead for no more wars and bullets. There is no better time to let social justice prevail than now.

By | March 19th, 2018|Features|0 Comments

A Joint Statement of All Ateneo Presidents on the Proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law

(The following is a joint statement of all Ateneo presidents on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law)
The Ateneo presidents join the call for the immediate passage of the proposed Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as drafted by the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC). This version hews closest to the genuine aspirations of Filipino Muslims and other marginalized sectors in Mindanao for lasting peace based on justice, economic growth, and social equity.
The law’s passage would provide a real and meaningful foundation for countering violent extremism and addressing the many other conflicts in Mindanao. We implore our legislators not to delay such passage any further.
We again express moral approval of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, and the Expanded BTC version of the Enhanced BBL. Our Catholic faith and Jesuit tradition call us to tread the pathways taken by the Prince of Peace, daring us to embrace multi-cultural openness and inter-religious dialogue.
No doubt, the journey to peace and justice remains long and difficult. But there is light that beckons at the end of the long, dark tunnel for beloved Mindanao. What the Ateneo presidents said in a joint statement on the BBL in 2015, when the law was first brought to the Philippine Senate, bears repeating: “The establishment of a Muslim region in Mindanao that is truly autonomous is mandated by the Constitution as a social justice imperative. Let this social justice no longer be postponed.”
Filipino Version
Nakikiisa ang mga pangulo ng mga pamantasang Ateneo sa Pilipinas sa panawagang isabatas agad ang mungkahing Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) na ipinanunukala ng pinalawak na Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC). Ang bersyong ito ng panukalang batas ang pinakamalapit sa mga tunay na inaasam ng mga kapatid nating Filipino Muslim at iba pang mga napag-iwanang sektor sa Mindanao para sa pangmatagalang kapayapaang batay sa katarungan, paglago ng ekonomiya, at panlipunang pagkakapantay-pantay.
Mailalatag ng batas na ito ang tunay at makabuluhang pundasyon upang kontrahin ang marahas na extremismo at tugunan ang samu’t-sari pang tunggalian sa Mindanao. Sumasamo kaming huwag nang ipagpaliban pa ng ating mga mambabatas ang pagpasa ng batas na ito.
Muli naming ipinahahayag ang moral naming pagsang-ayon sa napagkasunduan nang Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, at ang Enhanced BBL na ito. Nananawagan sa amin ang aming pananampalatayang Katoliko at ang tradisyong Heswita na lakbayin ang landas na tinahak ni Hesukristong Panginoon ng Kapayapaan, na humahamon sa ating yakapin ang pagiging bukas sa sama-samang pag-iral ng iba’t ibang kultura, at ang pagdidiyalogo ng iba’t ibang relihiyon.
Tiyak na mahaba at mahirap pa ang paglalakbay na ito tungo sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan at katarungan. Ngunit nababanaagan na ang liwanag sa dulo ng mahaba’t madilim na lagusan para sa minamahal nating Mindanao. Inuulit namin ang naipahayag na noong 2015 ng mga pangulo ng mga Ateneo nang unang talakayin ang BBL sa Senado: “The establishment of a Muslim region in Mindanao that is truly autonomous is mandated by the Constitution as a social justice imperative. Let this social justice no longer be postponed.” (Ang pagtatatag ng isang rehiyong tunay na awtonomus para sa mga kababayang Muslim sa Mindanao ay itinatakda ng Saligang Batas upang isulong ang katarungang panlipunan. Huwag nang patagalin pa ang pagkamit nitong katarungang panlipunan.)
ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Fr. Karel S. San Juan, S.J. (President, Ateneo de Zamboanga University)
Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J. (President, Ateneo de Davao University)
Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, S.J. (President, Ateneo de Manila University)
Fr. Roberto Exequiel N. Rivera, S.J. (President, Ateneo de Naga University)
Fr. Roberto C. Yap, S.J. (President, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan)
By | March 17th, 2018|Features|0 Comments

OPAPP, UN bodies to implement capacity-building programs in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, 14 March 2018 Implementing partners of the United Nations Peace Building Fund (UNPBF) on Wednesday agreed to jumpstart the implementation of the programs and projects that will capacitate the future leaders of the Bangsamoro government and address root causes that drive violent extremism in some parts of Mindanao.

“Let’s hit the ground running,” Secretary Jesus G. Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said as he presided over the meeting of the Fund’s Steering Committee on Wednesday at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao in this city.

The Steering Committee oversees the implementation of the projects and programs under the Peace Building Fund and is co-chaired by Dureza and UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren.

Other members of the Steering Committee are representatives of the UN Development Program, UN Children’s Fund, UN Women, and civil society groups.

The UNPBF was conceptualized in 2017 for the UN bodies to collectively help in the peace process, especially in the transition period of the establishment of the new Bangsamoro region.

The Bangsamoro government will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is enacted and ratified.

The passage of the BBL is one of the cornerstone policies of the Duterte administration and is intended to address the “historical injustices” committed against the Moro people.

Both houses of Congress are aiming to pass the law in May to pave the way for the Moro people in Mindanao to achieve their long-drawn aspiration for self-determination over their ancestral lands.

Aside from helping in the peace process, the UNPBF is also aimed at addressing violent extremism by empowering women, youth, and faith-based leaders.

This includes the protection of children and youth from joining armed groups and preventing an incident similar to last year’s Marawi crisis.

Dureza expressed his gratitude to the UN bodies for their continued support to the overall peace process, particularly in Mindanao.

“Thank you, UN, for your full support to the Philippine Government to achieve sustainable peace and development. The Philippines cannot do it alone. We need the support of the international community,” he said.

Almgren, for his part, said the UN has been committed to helping the government and stakeholders advance the peace process and implement the peace agreements signed between the government and the Moro fronts.

The UN and other international groups have been implementing peace-building programs to support the Bangsamoro peace process for decades.

The meeting on Wednesday was the first since the UNPBF was created last year. The Steering Committee meets on a quarterly basis to review implementation, provide strategic guidance for the project, and make course corrections should circumstances warrant them.

By | March 14th, 2018|MILF, News|0 Comments

Latiph vows establishment of Bangsamoro Women Commission

COTABATO CITY – Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph gave assurance of the establishment of the Bangsamoro Women Commission during her keynote message at the 2nd Bangsamoro Women Economic and Development Summit on March 14, 2018.

“I assure you, there shall be a Bangsamoro Women Commission created by the parliament to promote women’s rights in the Bangsamoro. Women should finally stake their claims in the table,” Latiph said in her message.

She also said 50 percent of the available positions in government service must be occupied by women and that women’s seats in the interim government and the Bangsamoro Council of Leaders should be guaranteed as well.

Latiph said the primary actions of women should be about empowerment so that they are informed of their rights and provided with trainings and strategies that contribute to women’s inclusion and participation in governance and peace building.

“We are here because we are strong and we survived. ‘Wag po tayo mahiya na umupo sa lamesa. Dapat po tayo mismo have our place dahil kung hindi tayo, sino? Nasa inyo po if we want or reject change (Let us not be afraid to sit on the table. We ourselves should have a place there; if not us, then who? It’s up to you if want or reject change),” she said.

The 2nd Bangsamoro Women’s Summit is a two-day consultation among Moro women, non-Moro indigenous women, civil society organizations, and government agencies aiming to strengthen constituency support on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

It also provides an avenue for discourse on insights regarding Moro women’s political participation in governance, peace building, and development.

It is a collaborative activity of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women, and Commission on Elections in celebration of the National Women’s Month.

By | March 14th, 2018|MILF, NAPWPS, News|0 Comments
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