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What would you do?

Posted on 09 December 2015 by cbcs_mike

[Editor's Note - This is a reprint from the comments posted by Professor Solita Collas-Monsod at Inquirer.net on December 5, 2015 presenting facts on the GPH-MILF Peace Talks and the actuation and perceptions by some concerned individuals and groups against the Bangsamoro Basic Law and what are growing concerns in the ground in Bangsamoro Homeland]

Let’s focus on something else other than the will-she-or-won’t-she or will-he-or-won’t-he (be disqualified), who-is-behind-it circus. There is at least one other issue that positively clamors for our attention, with very serious negative effects if we ignore it. Let me introduce it by asking: What would you do?

Imagine a life of regularly being “evacuated” from where you are living as fighting continues, and has in fact become a way of life over the past 40 years; where the area is experiencing development in reverse (things were better off before than at present); where huge gaps now exist in physical and human capital between your area and the rest of the country in terms of life expectancy, number of years of education, per capita living standards.

To top it all, when you try to relocate elsewhere in the country, hoping to make a better life for yourself, you are discriminated against—in finding a job, in finding a place to live. You are, in effect, second-class citizens. True, the government is trying to help you, but the prejudice against you is so great, and your leaders are oftentimes treated with great disrespect.
Have you gotten the picture?

Now, at this point, you are approached by people who offer you what they describe as a better alternative, or at least a chance to live with greater dignity. They offer membership in a growing worldwide movement, which at least for the moment is feared by many. Of course, this means that you will turn your back on the religion you have practiced since childhood, and embrace a very radical, almost unrecognizable, version of it.

What would you do? Facing a bleak, almost hopeless future, don’t you think the alternative is attractive? Wouldn’t you at least give it a chance, if not grab it outright?

I am afraid this is the choice that some of our young Muslim brothers and sisters are facing. And I am more afraid that they will opt for what I would probably opt for if I were in their shoes (young, and no future to speak of). And that before we know it, as a result, we will be embroiled in the fight between the extremist Muslim movements and the rest of the world, which has wreaked such havoc elsewhere. That havoc might take place here, too.

Do you think I have overstated the situation? No. I have merely been stating facts. If there is anything wrong in my description of their lives, feel free to show me.

And the alternative has been presented to them, in the shape of the Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP), whose claims of connection with the notorious Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) have been pooh-poohed by the Philippine military and police. In the encounter between the military and the AKP, who were apparently carrying Isis flags, one of the men slain was identified as Datumungan Dilangalen of Cotabato City. This is an important part of the unfolding story.

According to the military and the police, there are no confirmed links between the AKP and Isis. The police even added “verified,” as in there were “no verified and confirmed links.” Then Malacañang piped in with the assurance that no credible threat from the Isis has been found. Methinks they protest too much. I wonder: What is a credible threat? What is a verified link? What is a confirmed link? Mere words, don’t you think? What will it take to convince them that a threat is credible, or a link has been verified, or has been confirmed? And by whom?

But aside from giving us all these assurances, they then say that the group was merely a group of bandits. There’s where I take exception. Why? Because the slain group included the above-mentioned Datumungan Dilangalen. Now the Dilangalen clan (remember Congressman Digs Dilangalen) is a pretty important one, even perhaps royalty, in those parts, and was at one time very prominent in Philippine politics. Why should one of its scions involve himself in mere banditry? Moreover, there were student IDs that were recovered. Dilangalen himself had told his mother that he was off to study the Koran, so presumably he was a student. Students are not bandits.

Now prior to this encounter, none of the armed groups in Mindanao had been identified as students, or wanting to attract students. So this is really a bad sign. And when Isis flags are found with their belongings, that is even worse. The links may be unconfirmed, unverified, and incredible, but they are there.

So we better face the facts. The phrase “Ansar Al-Khilafah,” we are told, mean “Supporters of the Caliphate,” which is exactly what the Isis is trying to achieve. There exists an Ansar al-khilafah, founded in 2012, operating in concert with the Isis. Just google it. And if they haven’t gotten in touch with our AKP before, as our authorities seem to think, they certainly are going to do it now. It is only a matter of time.
And if the AKP’s target is the studentry, we are in trouble. Students are idealistic and reckless. Student movements have brought down governments and administrations, here and elsewhere in the world. And the student targets in the Philippines are ripe for the picking, because, as I said, they don’t have much of an alternative.

So what can be done at this point? I am not saying that approving the Bangsamoro Basic Law is the answer, but it certainly is a necessary first step to create the foundations for the social justice that our Muslim brothers and sisters have so long craved. Let’s stop politicians from using it as a tool to pole-vault themselves into popularity and “winnability.” And let us make sure we don’t ourselves contribute to the radicalization of the Muslim.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/90895/what-would-you-do#ixzz3tmnr548e
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“People of Sulu Support the BBL, Let them be heard!”

Posted on 02 October 2015 by cbcs_mike

BAWGBUG
Media Statement
May 14, 2015

Contrary to the claim of the Governor and his minions of absentee politicians that Sulu is anti- BBL country, the silenced majority of the Tausug people strongly support any legal and peaceful political process that will transform the current state of lawlessness, poverty, warlordism, dynasty, corruption and oppression which has been a living nightmare for the ordinary people here for more than four decades now. We will accept anything that can liberate us from this rotten system.

“This is what we would have wanted to express in yesterday’s Senate hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law but we were prevented from speaking out the real sentiments of our people, said Abdullah Abdan, community organizer of Bawgbug. “Those who are known supporters of the BBL were not invited and even if we were there already, we were not also recognized”, lamented one mother who refused to be named for fear of reprisal from the leaders. “How do you expect us to speak out when even the BTC staff are being harassed by the politicians here? One of them is even hiding as he was openly berated by the Vice Governor for supporting the BBL.”

More than anyone, it is the people of Sulu that needs this radical change here and now. We call on Malacanan to do everything within its power to ensure that the true sentiment of the people will be expressed and heard. We genuinely support the establishment of a Bangsamoro government which can demonstrate how government should operate. As of now, our politicians are the law, judge and executioner at the same time. This people just pocket the internally revenue allotment (IRA) and hardly report to their own municipalities as most of them are living in Manila, Zamboanga or in other big cities. This has been the situation since the reign of their grandfathers and fathers as they perpetuate their political dynasty at the expense of ordinary people who badly need basic services from government.
There are no ready medicines and support services for our people. People take justice into their own hands because there is no semblance of governance and rule of law.

“There is no livelihood and human security in Sulu. Now that it is dry season, even the agal-agal planted beneath the sea were damaged with the heat. We cannot also plant in our farms because it is contaminated by land mines due to ridu”, said Faizal from Pata Island. If only there is peace and a functioning accountable system of government that will genuinely serve the people, Sulu can easily catch up with the needed progress and development because we are very rich in natural resources.

Thus, on behalf of the poor, deprived and oppressed people of Sulu, we call upon our lawmakers to register our strong support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law. This is the only hope that is left of us. More than any other Moro communities in Mindanao, it is Sulu that badly need the Bangsamoro. If given the full freedom to express this sentiment, Insha Allah, we will all come out and be counted for the Bangsamoro.

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BANSA STATEMENT OF CONCERN ON CURRENT STATUS OF BBL

Posted on 26 August 2015 by cbcs_mike

August 23, 2015

BENIGNO C. AQUINO III
President of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace, Philippines

THRU:
HOUSE OF THE SENATE and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

We the Officers and members of Bangsamoro Network for Solidarity and Accountability (BANSA), Sugoda Buayan – Southern Mindanao Regional Chapter based in General Santos and with a coverage area of the City of General Santos, Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces in its Regular Meeting hereby appeals to the members Congress to reconsider their substantial changes made to the original Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) contained under HB 4994.

In essence, BANSA had been witnessed how painful life is, how these people fighting between life and death. They didn’t feel the emptiness of their stomach because of the fear that in just a glimpse of their eyes, life ends. This is not a sarcastic event but a reality that everyone must be aware of. Not only the people of Mindanao who experienced this chaotic incident but also some parts of the Philippines who are still deaf and blind with the real happenings.

We can’t deny the fact that Mindanao is suffering in many challenges and one of this is towards achieving “peace”. The people of the land specifically the Bangsamoros are shouting for peace. It includes there their right to “Self-Determination”. It is in which we theBangsamoro can be able to determine and practice our political status and other identities because we really feel that we are politically, economically, socially and culturally deprived of our legitimate right to exist as distinct nation or people.

In connection with this, Bangsamoro Basic Law in accordance with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was drafted as an alternative solution to this ongoing conflict. Thus, the original draft of the BBL will bring reconciliation and unity to the dreamed political entity the “Bangsamoro”. We strongly believed that all the provisions inclusive in the BBL will highlight the needs of the Bangsamoros.

Therefore, we are begging you to support and push the original draft of the BBL instead of the new versions. We are also encouraging you to join in our advocacy and be a catalyst of change and peace building with this place which we named as the “land of hope”. Hope for Peace, Justice, against oppression and wishing that one day no more youth will hold fire arms to protect their rights but a book instead to educate their selves.

We are really hoping that our agony will be put into realization!

(Signed by 24 Regional Officers and Members of BANSA constituting a quorum in their Regular Meeting)

By: Ebs Sandigan

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BANSA Officers and Members during their Regular Meeeting

BANSA REGIONAL OFFICERS EXPRESSED DEEP CONCERN OVER BBL STATUS IN CONGRESS

Posted on 26 August 2015 by cbcs_mike

Twenty five (25) Regional Officers and members of the Bangsamoro Network for Solidarity and Accountability (BANSA) of the Sugoda Buayan Regional Chapter – a conglomeration of multi-sectoral Moro society base in General Santos City expressed concern on the current situation of the of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the two Houses of Congress.

BANSA Sugoda Buayan Chapter Chairman Hadji Solaiman Kamad presiding in the Meeting

BANSA Sugoda Buayan Chapter Chairman Hadji Solaiman Kamad presiding in the Meeting

The apprehension of BANSA Regional Officers had been subject of their regular meeting which was held at the Science and Technology Training Center, Mindanao State University in General Santos City on August 22 – 23, 2015 attended by twenty five Officers and Members.

Hadji Solaiman Kamad, the Regional Chairman of the BANSA Sugoda Buayan Regional Chapter said in Maguindanaon dialect that “the Officers and Members of BANSA together with their communities had been very supportive of the GPH-MILF Negotiation from the start up to the crafting of the BBL.” However, he stressed that with the current changes, dilutions and insertions made with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission’s (BTC) original BBL embodied under HB4994. Eventually, both Houses of Representatives and Senate made their own versions of the BBL stipulated under HB5811 and SB2894 respectively, that virtually made the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as law “weaker and lesser” than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Ms Zalika Uko, a woman representative of BANSA who is also a fresh graduate of MSU recently recalled the effect of the long-lingering armed conflict that affects everyone in Mindanao, not only those in the epicenter of conflict but even the peripheral areas like General Santos and the nearby provinces. She said, “we too and the younger generation of the Bangsamoro had been happy and hopeful that the long suffering will end with the crafting of the BBL by the BTC.

Ms Uko stressed that “with the present situation that both Houses of Congress made their own versions of the law, our delights and hope are turned into fears and apprehension.” She recalled that during the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) signing in 2008 caused a widespread armed conflict in many parts of Mindanao. And added “remember that the first escalation point of that armed encounters IN 2008 was in Sarangani province and we did not want this to happen again if Congress fails to pass a law that is acceptable to the Bangsamoro people.”

During the session proper it was agreed that with the above scenario, the regional Officers will issue a statement appealing to members of both Houses of Congress to reconsider their new respective versions of BBL and take cognizant of the gains of the 18 years negotiation that focused on resolving the Bangsamoro’s quest for their right to self-determination.

By: Ebs Sandigan

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The Citizen’s Peace Council Held its First Meeting

Posted on 14 April 2015 by cbcs_mike

[This article is sourced from media release on the first meeting of the member-conveners of the Peace Council recently formed to help in ironing out prevailing contentious issues on the GPH-MILF Talks and the Bangsamoro Basic Law through the courtesy of Ms Karen Tanada, Executive Director of Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute]

The Peace Council held their first meeting on April 6, 2015. Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., Ambassador Howard Dee, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and youth leader Bai Rohaniza (Honey) Sumndad-Usman were joined by other co-convenors representing a broad swath of society. Religious leaders, business executives, youth leaders, civil society advocates, academics, and retired professionals, all active in national development, shared their expertise and experience. In the spirit of collegiality of peers, the conveners decided not to have a chair but to divide the work as needed.

The co-conveners included peace advocates, educators, economists and champions for social justice. The list includes: Archbishop Soc Villegas, Fr. Joel Tabora, Bishop Pablo David, Ms. Amina Rasul, Atty. Christian Monsod, Dean Sedfrey Candelaria, Dean Danilo Concepcion, Prof. Moner Bajunaid, Ms. Pat Sarenas, Atty. Nasser Marohomsalic, Dr. Cielito Habito, Mr. John Perrine, Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta, Bishop Tendero, Atty. Marlon Manuel, Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, and Ramon del Rosario.

The meeting began with invocations by Archbishop Socrates Villegas and Professor Moner Bajunaid who both prayed for peace and goodwill.

Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. welcomed the group with the admonition that “the hard work begins after BBL is passed”. Honey Sumndad-Usman for her part shared the perspective of a young Muslim woman “whose future will be immensely influenced by the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala was requested by the convenors to present an overview of the Council’s role and objectives. He emphasized that the group is an independent body committed to helping the general public understand what is at stake in the BBL, identify contentious issues, and help find a path towards reconciling divergent views.

The group acknowledged the daunting challenges the country faces in its pursuit of peace. The history and culture of the Muslim, centuries of neglect, deep-seated prejudices and biases, the unfortunate clash at Mamasapano, and the strident voices denouncing the BBL and calling for all-out war.

As an initial step, the Convenors agreed to focus on the controversial BBL articles and organize clusters around the following broad topics: 1) constitutionality and forms and powers of government, to be chaired by Chief Justice Davide; 2) Justice, including social justice, and human development, to be co-chaired by Ambassador Dee and Honey Sumndad-Usman; 3) Economy and Patrimony, to be chaired by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and 4) Human Security.

The Cluster Chairs with their expanded membership will hold in-depth sessions in the coming days. They are expected to conclude by April 18, when they will share their output and future activities in a plenary.

Ambassador Howard Dee closed the initial meeting of the Peace Council with these reminders: Our overarching goal is peace with justice and development in Muslim Mindanao: a political peace settlement that addresses the injustices inflicted on the Bangsamoro religious, cultural and political identity as a people, as after all, they had their political identity before there was a Philippine nation; the human development of the Bangsamoro people by restoring their human rights and freedom to reverse their economic and social marginalization which has resulted in their human poverty level that is about twice the national average; a process of cultural and spiritual healing to overcome the deep-seated prejudices that continue to divide our people. ###

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PEACE FORUM CONDUCTED BY SULONG SARANGANI

Posted on 14 April 2015 by Ebrahim Sandigan

The Provincial Peace Forum organized by Sulong Sarangani, a flagship program of the Office of the Provincial Governor, on March 31, 2015 at the provincial gymnasium.

A Tribal Chieftain being interviewed by media during the peace forum.

A Tribal Chieftain being interviewed by media during the peace forum.

More than four (400) hundred IP, Muslim and Christian constituents of Sarangani province from different sectors joined the peace forum. Members of the Local and International Monitoring Team, PNP, AFP, NPA returnees, PLGU, MLGU, BLGU, IP’s, Religious Leaders, MNLF, MILF, Academe, Students, Youth, Women, and CSO’s were presents.

Government Peace Panel Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and GPH Peace Panel Member Senen Bacani were the resource speakers of the forum. The two explained the roadmap towards the es-tablishment of the Bangsamoro government.
The BBL is now in the House of Representatives and Senate for deliberation and is expected to be passed into law by June this year.

Hearings for the Bangsamoro Basic Law BBL were stalled after the Mamasapano clash on Janu-ary 25, 2015 where 44 members of Special Action Force SAF were killed and 16 MILF Sha-heed/martyrdoms and at least 5 civilians in an armed confrontation.

During the open forum, the provincial tribal chief Edmund Pangilan raised the question on what will happen to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the areas covered by the Bangsamoro territory.

Government Peace Panel Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the rights of the IPs will be respected under the Bangsamoro. She said that the IPs can participate politically having reserve seats in the Bangsamoro parliament.
The participants looks forward that Bangsamoro Basic Law (DBBL) could bring development to the Bangsamoro people, not only in the core territory.
“If the BBL will be enacted and implemented, it can bring goodness to the Bangsamoro people even outside the core territory.” MILF/ LMT Ambrillah Mamadra, said in an interviewed.

The tribal chief however commented on the less information drive about the drafted BBL in the grassroots level in the sarangani area.
“There are many people in our communities which are not reached by information about this basic law,” pangilan disclosed.

The participants looks forward that Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) could bring development to the Bangsamoro people, not only in the core territory.

By Ebrahim Sandigan

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CBCS Conducted Trainors’ Training on the BBL and the Peace Process

Posted on 01 April 2015 by Ebrahim Sandigan

General Santos City. The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) conducted a day-long trainors’ training on the BBL and the peace process in Mindanao yesterday (March 15,2015) at the Science and Technology Training Center of the Mindanao State University, Tambler Campus, this city.

The activity was designed to build capacity of the members of the Federation of Muslim Student Associations (FEMSA) as peace advocates in the academe by providing them correct, updated and timely information on current issues in Mindanao, particularly the peace process.

According to Michael Kusain, FEMSA adviser, he invited FEMSA members from two universities and six colleges/schools in the city, but he said only two university and four colleges who responded to the invitation due to some valid reasons.

The speakers/trainers were Mr. Guiamel Alim, CBCS-COL Chairperson, and Atty. Raissa Jajurie, a member of the MILF peace panel and Commissioner of the Bagsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). Mr. Alim discussed with the student participants the concept of right to self-determination (RSD), and brief history of the Moro struggle and the peace process in Mindanao. BTC Commissioner Atty. Jajurie focused on the salient provisions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). She also spent time clarifying some misinformation and misconceptions about the BBL, including the alleged PhP 75 Billion to be appropriated by the Philippine government for the Bangsamoro government.

The speakers/trainers were impressed by the responses and eagerness to learn demonstrated by the student participants. Towards the end of the activity, two of the participants were given opportunity to express their statements of support to the BBL and the peace process in Mindanao.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Message of Support

Good Ma’am/Sir!
First and Foremost, allow me to greet you in Islam- “Assalamu Alaykum” which means “peace be with you”.

The war in Mindanao since the Martial Law days caused its people to live in substandard human condition. They still have memories of chilling fears caused by roaring sound of mortar shelling and gun burst.
They learned to hide and run trekking through marshy area or dense forest to save their lives during the genocidal campaign in early 70’s, and the all-out war of 2000,

Truly the experiences in the war have been emotionally and mentally oppressive. It develop anguish with in the hearts and minds of the Moro people especially the young ones whom at young age were already traumatized by the goriness of war. Thus, in their later life they grow up unproductive. Some turned into drug addicts and engaged in different forms of illegal activities. Others took up arms as means to seek justice against the government whom they blame for their present situation of poverty and deprivation.

The Bangsamoro fighting for freedom is the world’s longest struggle for liberation; idt started during the Spanish time, to the American occupation, and now with Philippine government troops. That caused the death of over hundred thousands of Muslim, thousands and wounded and tortured and over a million displaced.

Today, we have the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) produced by the peace negotiating panels of the GRP and the MILF as a solution to the conflict problems in Mindanao. It is about alternative mechanism in order to give the Moro their chance to shape their own destiny. BBL is good for the economic development of the Bangsamoro and on matters of security and peace and order. The BBL provides our own police force that will enable the Bangsamoro to maintain peace and order in its own territories.

Moreover, the BBL will help to prove that the Moros/Muslims are not terrorists, uneducated, ignorant and lawless people.

More importantly, as I end my message, allow me to express my words of thanks to the facilitators of the event as well as to the speakers. Sir and Ma’am, Thank you for your tangible contribution that you’ve shared with us.

Thank you and more power!

Jaynoden Lumapinit
Spokesperson of Muslim Student Association of Mindanao State University, Gensan

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The war for hearts and minds

Posted on 05 March 2015 by Zehlhez

Grassroots and Governance, BY TERESA S. ABESAMIS

 

THE HARDEST PART about winning the peace in Mindanao is not a matter of armaments, or of military tactics and strategy. Continue Reading

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PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT FORUM ON BANGSAMORO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED

Posted on 08 November 2014 by cbcs_mike

Thousands of delegates coming from multi-sectoral developmental groupings both state and non-state actors, domestic and international communities flocked to a two-day forum Continue Reading

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BBL Advocacy

BBL Advocacy

Posted on 02 September 2014 by cbcs_mike

YES TO BBLYES TO BBL

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