Stakeholders and various sectoral leaders aired their strong support for the immediate passage and ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law during the Cotabato leg of the joint public consultation of the House of Representatives on the proposed bill held at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City and at the Esperanza A. Garcia Municipal Gymnasium in Midsayap, Cotabato Province last February 15 and 16.
Fr. Antonio Pueyo, said this is the time to unite and set aside religious differences to show support for the BBL, which he believes would give lasting peace in Mindanao.
“Tayong lahat, we have to support the BBL because I think this will be creating or bringing about peace in our region,” he said.
Timuay Gumbaila Gunsi, vice chairman of external affairs of Confederated Descendants of Rajah Mamalu Inc., an Indigenous Peoples’ organization representing the Teduray, Lambaganian, Dulangan-Manobo, Higaonon, T’boli and Blaan expressed support to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission version of the BBL.
“We declare our equivocal support for the passage without amendments of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law version of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission,” he said.
For his part, Duma M. Mascud, convenor of the Sustainable Initiative of Grassroots and Networks for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (SIGN BBL), which is the umbrella organization of different civil society organizations in Mindanao pushing for the passage of the BBL, said the bill if passed can help stop violent extremism because the BBL answers the Bangsamoro aspirations.
“Ang mga kabataan natin pumupunta sa violent extremism dahil sa Bangsamoro aspirations na hindi nabibigay, pero pag na implement ang agreement na … gustong mangyari ng Bangsamoro, which is already embodied under that Bangsamoro Basic Law, natural na ang mga kabataan natin ay pwede nating akayin at pabalikin sa tamang landas,” he said.
He added that the enactment of the proposed BBL will pave the way for socio-economic boost not only in the region but in the entire Philippines.
“Pag naipasa ang BBL magkakaroon ng kapayapaan at sigurado kasunod nito ang pag pasok ng mga investors na mamumuhunan hindi lamang sa rehiyon kundi sa buong Pilipinas,” he noted.
In his speech at the Midsayap hearing, Deputy Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Atty. Nabil Tan reiterated the order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be prioritized before the shift to federalism.
“Nag-bigay ng assurance ang ating Pangulo na ang ating Bangsamoro Basic Law ay papasa bago ang shift to federalism,” he said.
Cotabato locals who came to the Midsayap hearing from the nearby towns are also hopeful for the immediate passage of the bill and believe that the BBL, when enacted, would pave the way for a better tomorrow for the Bangsamoro.
“Gusto ko maipasa ang BBL para maging tahimik na ang lugar at makapaghanap-buhay ng tahimik,” Hairunisa Hamza, 45-year-old mother of two, said while expressing her support for the BBL.
She said that she’s looking forward to the day genuine peace is realized, adding that when it happens, she will be ready to leave her children because she knows they will no longer experience the suffering she endured due to armed conflict.
“Pag may kalilintad (peace) na, yan na ang panahon na pwede na ako mawala kasi alam ko na hindi na nila maranasan ang hirap na naranas namin sa pagiging bakwit,” she added.
Ustadzia Sania Ganion, 60 years old, from Municipality of Matalam in Cotabato province said she and her family endured armed conflict since 1974 and she appeals to the representatives to pass the BBL BTC version, believing that it is the key to long-lasting peace in Mindanao.
“Ang lunas po sa lahat ng hirap na nangyari at maaring mangyari pa sa mga Bangsamoro ay ang pagsasakatuparan sa BBL-BTC version, huwag na po sanang maranasan ng mga kabataang Bangsamoro ngayon ang aking dinanas noon,” she said.
The House of Representatives’ committees on Local Government, Muslim Affairs, and Peace, Reconciliation and Unity will continue the series of public consultations on the BBL in Davao City today.