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Muslim Filipinos hurting after Mamasapano clash too

Posted on 05 March 2015 by Zehlhez

February 25, 2015 7:00pmContinue Reading

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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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Reflections on the Mamasapano Incidents and its Effect to the Peace Process

Reflections on the Mamasapano Incidents and its Effect to the Peace Process

Posted on 02 March 2015 by Zehlhez

Guiamel M. AlimOn January 25, 2015, a contingent of the Police Special Action Force (SAF) conducted a discreet operation to arrest 2 suspected terrorists Continue Reading

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A Letter from Majeed Usman

A Letter from Majeed Usman

Posted on 16 February 2015 by Musa

Dear Bangsamoro People

I am Maajeed Usman, an ordinary Bangsamoro. I just would like to lay down my personal statement about the just concluded senate hearing about Mamasapano Bloody Incident

I am deeply saddened by statement loosened out by Senator Allan Peter Cayetano recently during the Senate hearing on the Mamasapao Bloody Incident held on February 12, 2015. In his manifestation, he had been mentioning repeatedly that MILF is a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION as he cited many documents he gathered as basis of his interpretation, stating those bombings happened in Mindanao. In this junction, it was not clearly defined whether or not the MILF as the one who instigate the series of bombings, there was no – nothing in the middle of the discourses has been said categorically, that MILF admitted the case as Senator Cayetano clearly taking and dictating the momentum, continuously tagging MILF as Terrorist Group which to me, a baseless one, an statement that adds to the already lingering gap between Muslim and other faith particularly the Christian majority.

The “ratatatatatatatatat” Senator AP Cayetano known for being insensitive with his words was then temporarily halted as BTC Mohager Iqbal opened up those important narratives and milestones as to how the Bangsamoro Struggle in Mindanao started and progresses. He was informed then that indeed Bangsamoro people by history were deprived to many rights; thousands of moro people were massacred and brutally executed in several instances, in different forms and extent under military rule. Iqbal further disclosed that “armed struggle is only the measure and option that we think very necessary to combat the unending oppression against Bangsamoro”. After Sen AP Cayetano listens to the input from Mohager Iqbal, noticeably, his line of questions suddenly shifts and he begins to rekindle his thoughts and later, appreciates the value of struggle of Bangsamoro people in Mindanao.

I was deeply hurt; it was painful and unacceptable “term” especially now when the peace process is already making a wave, why now? When resources and best efforts between and among parties involved are already poured in. why such statement? When GPH already recognizes the legitimacy of MILF in seeking political settlement for the Bangsamoro, Why such? When Bangsamoro Basic Law is about to be deliberated in congress, why? When everyone in Mindanao is already in high spirit, why? When the trust and confidence are already far-reaching. What is clear to me, those demonstrations made by Senator AP Cayetano and its cohorts are nothing but an expression of insensitivity, a bit of display of arrogance and ignorance of history, nothing but an intention to confuse the public and above all, his objective to become the ‘STAR” a “HERO” for those people who already against with the BBL. What a world!!!!

 I am saddened and a bit teary-eye seeing Mohaqer Iqbal at the center, being castigated like an offender”. I don’t like the manner, tenor and lines of questioning that are being thrown – and the way it was done.

I am also saddened that Mamasapano incident is now being equate to the peace process but on the other hand, I feel sorry for people who make a lot of criticisms in social media because its either, they don’t understand the history of conflict in Mindanao or simply they are being fueled up by hatred because of those accounts being associated to Muslims as violent or terrorists.

I am saddened that many people refuse to look at the bright side of the peace process and its purpose.

The attitude the way Sen “ratatatatatatatatat” have shown is the version of a person who truly do  not know the context of Mindanao, who do not know what OPAPP and MILF have been talking and engaging with. I am sad because, this condition fuels up the gap that we already have in the ground and or even complicate the understanding of the majority on the status of the peace process.

Despite of all, I am personally extending my grand appreciation to BTC Chair Mohager Iqbal for being able to respond all the issues thrown against MILF, I admire his steadfastness and composure while receiving mounting criticisms from different resource speakers at that time particularly the “ratatatatatatat” senator. I admire his ability to compose himself in the midst of arguments. I pay respect for his brilliance and capability to argue on conditions affecting the peace process and MILF as an organization.

I therefore appreciate deeply the undying commitment of MILF as a gesture of a truly committed organization to achieve a lasting peace in Mindanao.

I would like also to give countless likes and thumbs up for Governor Mujiv Hataman as he was able to rebut Senator Cayetano in the middle of his manifestation and immediately make his own discussion and analysis with regards to “terrorism”. He was able defend it with semblance of self-control over his emotion.   In this trying time, I found few people who have heart for peace, committed and willing to risk their lives. .

I urge everyone to let us all exercise utmost tolerance at this point in time as the peace process approaches to a critical stage. Let us also confront peace spoilers by providing the right avenue where they can articulate their issues and concerns and make them understand eventually the intent and extent of peace the process.

On the other hand, I appeal to every citizen not to judge the MILF, its intention and commitment to the peace process and do not make the Mamasapano incident as condition or ground for inadmissibility of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the congress. I strongly believe that if ceasefire mechanisms were strictly observed, incident should have been avoided.

I hope and pray that before everyone will make a comment or issue statements, they should consider using appropriate words particularly at this point in time where tension in the ground is looming and where the peace process is on the verge of turmoil.

May those spoilers be enlightened with peace.

Let us give peace a chance…..


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A critical look at the BBL and the BANGSAMORO

Posted on 27 January 2015 by Farj

Guiamel Alim
Chair, Council of Leaders (CoL)
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS)

The BANGSAMORO is the envisioned new political autonomy that will replace the ARMM. The proposed new political entity builds on the FPA of 1996 signed by the Philippine government and the MNLF. After a three year transition that ended up in a plebiscite in 1999, the said agreement found its legal expression in RA 9054 known as the expanded autonomy in Muslim Mindanao. RA 9054 is heavily criticized for its failure to improve the lives of the Bangsamoro, thus a “failed experiment”. The reasons for its failure was not however clear. Was it due to management and leadership? Was it due to lack of power and resources? Or is it the combination of the two and other factors?
The rationale of the GPH and the MILF peace process which commenced even less than a year after the signing of the FPA in 1996 is found in the recommendation of a study conducted by the NUC in 1995. In that study one of the 6 paths to peace recommended is to negotiate with all other revolutionary groups in the country that includes the NDF-CPP and its split groups, RAM and the MILF.
The GPH and the MILF peace negotiations dragged for 14 years from the presidency of Fidel Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo. It however succeeded to sign a final accord with the Aquino administration after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in April 2013. The latter was the basis of the draft BBL submitted to the congress last October 2014.
What does the proposed BBL offer?
The draft BBL, after much delayed, has already been submitted by the office of the president to the congress as an urgent bill. It took 4 months for the OP to study and a month of joint review and revision with the MILF before a final version was agreed.
It can be safe to presume that the final version is a good legal framework, the fact that the MILF accepted it. The congress will further scrutinize the BBL and make the final draft. They (congress) will hold consultations and public hearings to “listen” to the people.
According to a senator, the BBL will undergo screening tests from the congress (both the senate and the house) and the Supreme Court and finally from the people. The senate is curious on the question of constitutionality while the lower house will look at the contentious provisions. The people will decide to approve or disapprove the Basic Law in a plebiscite. While the senator is optimistic that the BBL will be ultimately passed, he is not sure how many percent of the original draft submitted by the president will hold.
What are in the BBL that are not in RA 9054?
Are the differences or gaps substantial that they can make a difference in the lives of the Bangsamoro? In the power-sharing scheme, it is said that the draft BBL has broader powers than what is available in RA 9054. In terms of wealth-sharing, the BM would have more shares in the mineral resources and additional sources of revenues. It has a block grant similar to the IRA of local government units that is regularly and automatically appropriated to the BM government.
Moreover, it would be provided with additional funding support that would hasten socio-economic development in this region that has been left behind due to intermittent conflicts and malgovernance in most of the last five decades. With more powers and resources come more responsibilities. “This is the advantage as well as the duty of those who will be leading the Bangsamoro in the years to come..
It has a government structure that is perceived to be culturally appropriate to the Bangsamoro and which can generate more inclusive and broader representation in governance. There is a substantial increase in the number of assembly people from that of the RLA. The creation of the council of leaders is a new structure.

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