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

Salita’t Siyasat Peace Conversation: A meeting of the minds

DAVAO CITY—It was a “face-off.” A friendly face-off, that is.

For three hours, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza took the “hot seat,” as he engaged senior high school students of the Ateneo de Davao University in a spirited discussion on a range of peace and security issues.

But the rules of the dialogue were clear from the start: The seasoned peace negotiator would be on equal footing with his young hosts. No one was above the other.

And the student participants, mostly senior high school leaders and staff of the school’s secondary and college publications, relished each and every moment of their encounter with the top cabinet official.

In fact, they took the opportunity to “grill” Sec. Dureza and ask him probing questions that did not seem to come from 17- and 18-year olds but from veteran political analysts.

On several occasions, the tables seemed to be turned between expert and novice, as the peace adviser listened intently to the students as they articulated their opinions on the peace process, violent extremism, the Marawi crisis and press freedom.

Clearly, the stars of the show were the students who demonstrated that the youth of today are not unhinged from present day realities, particularly on issues affecting the nation’s peace, security and development.

But like a father having a fireside chat with his children, the peace adviser patiently explained to the young crowd seated around him that the key to successful peace negotiations is finding a “convergence point” among stakeholders.

He said that such convergence can be achieved not by forcing one’s will upon the other and extracting concessions, but by “finding a common ground” between them.

“Peace-building is not [only] coming up with a ‘magical’ solution,” he pointed out, explaining that there is always a “different way of looking at things” that would ultimately lead to a solution that is favorable to all.

Sec. Dureza emphasized that a peace settlement cannot be achieved by “one stroke” of a pen, saying such agreements take time and which foundations are built “peace by piece.”

On the issue of violent extremism, he said the problem first reared its ugly head during the Marawi crisis.

According to him, the security threat had long been “incubating” in the country, but there were no serious efforts to address it until the siege happened.

He said those responsible for the crisis “had no ideology” whatsoever, and were only focused on sowing fear, anger and chaos among the residents.

To address this concern, Sec. Dureza said OPAPP has carried out a series of “social healing” activities that would help the victims recover from the physical and emotional trauma which resulted from the attack.

He noted that the siege had “destroyed the moral fiber of society” and there was a need to help the people “deal with their angst.”

“When something bad happens, you just can’t give people a house to make them happy,” Sec. Dureza said, adding, “You have to give them the opportunity to express their pain.”

To prevent a recurrence of the Marawi incident, he underscored the need “to address the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro” through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Both houses of Congress are now conducting public hearings on the proposed law that aims to give flesh to the comprehensive peace agreement signed between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the national government in 2014.

For their part, the student participants expressed their full support to the peace process and provided insights on how they think the youth can help the government in effectively addressing the peace and security situation in Mindanao.

For senior high school student Trisha Lupina, “Peace and order is something we (students) need to jointly work on.”

On the other hand, political science student Ian Silvano stressed the need to promote the principle of “social justice,” as he challenged high school students to play a more active role in peacebuilding.

Meanwhile, Jupiter Cabig, editor-in-chief of Atenews, observed that the issue of peace is discussed “abstractly,” as he called on his fellow students to help “contribute in re-framing this perspective.”

ADDU president Fr. Joel Tabora, who was seated among the audience, smiled with pride as he witnessed how the young Ateneans confidently expressed themselves and stood up to the challenge of exchanging views with Sec. Dureza.

In his remarks at the event’s closing, Fr. Tabora lauded the student organizers of the event, as he challenged them to be staunch advocates of social justice.

“Our mission and vision for students is to make a commitment for peace,” he said. ###

Speech of MILF Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim during the Launch of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the first Mindanaoan President of the Republic, Secretary Jesus “Jess” Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Members of the Cabinet and other officials of Government, Local Government, Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of the MILF Central Committee and fellow mujahedeen, Brothers from the MNLF, Traditional Leaders, Sectoral Leaders, CSO’s, Media, distinguished Guests; Brothers, sisters, friends, ladies and gentlemen, let me extend to you our fraternal greetings of peace,

Assalamo Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, very good afternoon:


Speech of the MILF Chairman on the Occasion of the Launch of the New BTC

Speech of the MILF Chairman on the Occasion of the Launch of the New BTC
Water Front Hotel, Davao City | 24 February 2017


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the first Mindanaoan President of the Republic, Secretary Jesus “Jess” Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Members of the Cabinet and other officials of Government, Local Government, Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of the MILF Central Committee and fellow mujahedeen, Brothers from the MNLF, Traditional Leaders, Sectoral Leaders, CSO’s, Media, distinguished Guests; Brothers, sisters, friends, ladies and gentlemen, let me extend to you our fraternal greetings of peace,

Assalamo Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, very good afternoon:

Once again, we are gathered on this historic day for the launch, or more accurately, the re-launch of an expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). The creation of the BTC as the joint mechanism to write a proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that will translate the provisions of the peace agreement into law was agreed by the parties more than two years ago when we signed the historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The CAB is a comprehensive attempt to resolve the Bangsamoro Question, or as the President puts it more succinctly, an attempt to redress the historical injustice committed against the Moro People. As such it builds on the gains of previous peace agreements and preserves them while consciously addressing the gaps of the President to converge the peace agreements. It is our unyielding belief that we can work with our brothers and sisters from the MNLF.

As we re-launch the BTC today we rekindle the hope of thousands of our people for a peaceful and progressive Bangsamoro even if we are occasionally gripped by sadness at the failure earlier to pass the BBL. We must look back at those experiences, not with bitterness, but with an examining eye so that we may dissect the problems and address them. We must come out better prepared this time to respond to the challenges of legislation. The Filipino people must equally stand prepared to accept us as partners in achieving peace and progress, not only for this region but for the entire country.

Perhaps, this second chance is the best second chance anyone could possibly have. We stand today at a historic moment in our journey as a country where for the first time in over a hundred year of existence of this republic, we have today the first President from Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte. We also have the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bebot Alvarez who is also from Mindanao. The Senate President, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel II is also from Mindanao.

But far more substantial than this, we feel more confident in achieving a lasting solution today to the Moro Question than at any other time in our struggle, because we have a President who understands the history and root cause of the Moro Question. We note with great appreciation his speeches and commitment during the campaign of addressing the historical injustices committed against the Moro People. We watch with awe his bold pronouncements, I am sure, have endeared him to our people and so it is no surprise that the Moro people came in droves to vote for him.

And so, it is my firm belief that the launch today of the BTC is an important initial step in the many steps that we will have to take to address the historical injustice committed against our people. Along the way, I expect the BTC to encounter challenges. We must approach this challenges conscious not only of the sacredness of the peace agreement we forged but also of the opportunity as well to demonstrate that the three branches of our government can all work together to contribute in the epoch-making task of bring peace finally to our country. This unique opportunity is provided by the Constitution for the Executive to negotiate peace; for the Legislative to enact peace legislation; and for the Supreme Court to rule on constitutional issues for peace.

I am sure our challenges do not begin, nor end with the above, but for as long as we remain committed to implementing the peace agreement we signed, I am confident that we can surmount these challenges.

In closing, let me reiterate our message then of unity:

To our fellow brothers from the MNLF, let us close ranks and find strength in the convergence of our peace agreements.

To our fellow Mindanaoans, let us assert self-rule while committing to shared rule.

To the three branches of the government, let us demonstrate not just independence but interdependence as well so that we may all contribute to peace in our land.

To the Supreme Court, let us interpret the law, so that the ends of justice and equity as well.

May peace reign in the Bangsamoro. May peace reign in Mindanao. May peace reign in the country. May peace be unto you all. Thank you.


By | February 27th, 2017|Features|0 Comments

Message of the Community of Sant’Egidio to GRP and MILF on the occasion of the Launch of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission Davao City, February 24th, 2017

The Community of Sant’Egidio hails with joy and congratulates the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for the Launch of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission which will be held in Davao on the coming February 24th, 2017.

Sant’Egidio hopes that the BTA work can decisively contribute to the full and effective re-establishment of peace with justice in the entire Mindanao area. In recognizing the importance of this historic moment for the Philippines, the Community of Sant’Egidio remains at the service of this important process of reconciliation, which today begins a new phase, that of its implementation by including all the different social, religious and civil realities.

As International Contact Group member of the Peace Talks, we also declare our full and continuous availability to offer generously our contribution to every possible facilitation of the peace process and of the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, urgent and valuable to Bangsamoro itself and, consequently, to the entire beloved country of the Philippines.

We are firmly convinced that true peace will be possible if everyone, ethnic and religious groups, political factions, local administrations, each minority of the whole of Mindanao, wants and can participate in its democratic and synergic construction. Peace will be authentic if it will be peace for all. The inclusion of everyone is crucial, at a social and political level, majorities and minorities, but all with the right to be represented.

With these feelings we would like to wish the parties a good work and a full success while we confirm that we remain your fellow travelers in the path toward a full peace.

Rome, February 23, 2017

Prof. Alberto Quattrucci
Secretary General P&R
Community of Sant’Egidio

By | February 24th, 2017|Features|0 Comments

Release of Political Prisoners as a Necessary Step to Achieve Peace

Mr. Presiding Officer, members of this august body, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant morning.

A week ago, 66 year-old Bernabe Ocasia became the 13th political prisoner to die in detention in the last five years, and the first under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte. Ocasia had been in prison for over a decade before he suffered a massive stroke that led to his death. It is the fervent wish of many advocates and families of political prisoners pushing for the freedom of their loved ones that Ocasia will be the last political prisoner to suffer death without seeing the hands of justice turn. (more…)

By | December 15th, 2016|Features|0 Comments

Generation ‘Me’ transforms into Generation Peace

Today’s youth belonging to the millennial generation – sometimes called Generation ‘Me’ – are deemed accustomed to an ‘instant gratification’ lifestyle others quickly dismiss as misplaced entitlement. Bangsamoro leader Datu Beds Kali proves just how wrong this judgment through his diligent advocacy towards peace with fellow youth leaders. (more…)

Message of MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal for the Peace Month

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panel joins in the celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month 2016, and congratulates the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process on its 23rd Anniversary. (more…)

By | September 29th, 2016|Features, MILF|0 Comments

North Samar Peace Month launches 2016 Peace Month

Participated by various national and local agencies, NGOs and the church, spearheaded by the Northern Samar Provincial Government in partnership with OPAPP supported by Provincial PAMANA Management Team, the launching of 2016 Peace Month was held successfully on Sept. 3, 2016, at Sacred Heart Plaza, Catarman, Northern Samar. (more…)