Archive | January, 2018

The same old view

Posted on 12 January 2018 by cbcs_mike

[This article is an editorial desk of luwaran published on August 16, 2017 which believably reflects the ideas of MILF Leadership on the filing of “BABAR Bill” by former president and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo which is seen by many as revival of the Bangsamoro hated version of BBL called BLBAR sponsored by the son of “butcher” of Bangsamoro better known as senator Bongbong Marcos]

During colonial times, colonizers arrogated to themselves the alleged bounden duty to care for non-white colonized peoples, who were treated as inferior race. This was the so-called white man’s burden, which originated and made popular after a poem of the same title by Rudyard Kipling in 1899. In this poem, he urged the U.S. to take up the “burden” of empire, as had Britain and other European nations.
Until today, there are lot of so-called leaders in “Imperial Manila” who would like to predetermine what is good for the Moros and the indigenous peoples in Mindanao. Such is not only reminiscent of this old colonial policy but it is still very much a part of policies of changing administrations in this country.

This view is not only a violation of the right of self-determination (RSD) of people but more seriously, any policy of such nature is sure to fail. Like an illness, the doctor prescribes the wrong medicine. This is the primordial reason why the so-called Moro Question of Problem remains unsolved to this day, which contributed in no small way to the radicalization of youths in Mindanao.

The current example of this old colonial policy is the bill authored by former President and now Congresswoman of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called Basic Act for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BABAR). The acronym itself already means “foolish” or “crazy” in Maguindanao language, which is spoken by over a million people. The last letter “r” is sometimes changed to “l” if it is uttered by people farther from the Iranon areas between Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

The filing of this kind of law is disgusting in all aspects. It clearly runs counter to the letter and spirit of the FAB and CAB. As former president, who was supposed to be the “mother” of all peoples, she should not have filed such a bill that clearly favours special groups of people, and more seriously, rescinds a moral obligation contained in agreement that it entered into with, including those with MILF and MNLF.

But if we recall the ghost of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008, then we can understand who is this Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It was during her presidency that the MOA-AD was initialled on July 27, 2008 but when it came to its formal signing, she backtracked and reneged on her obligation. This led to bloody fighting in North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, and many other areas in Mindanao.

Be this as it may, we still want to assure Congresswoman GMA that we still have the highest respect for her as former president and as daughter of one of the most beloved presidents of this country, the late Diosdado Macapagal, especially among Moros. He was the first president to have appointed a Moro, the late Datu Duma Sinsuat, to his cabinet in the sixties.

By the way, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not only an exercise of RSD (right to self-determination) by the Bangsamoro people, but it is also based on the letter and spirit of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). By signing these agreements, it is an obligation of government to enact the BBL as a way to comply with its obligation contained in these agreements.

The problem is that the BBL is not yet submitted to Congress, as of this writing. We do not know why GMA is faster than the administration. We sought explanation from the government but we got an unclear answer. Frankly, we do not know what is happening.

https://www.luwaran.com/news/article/964/the-same-old-view

CBCS Secretariat

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THE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL ROOTS OF VIOLENT EXTREMISM

Posted on 12 January 2018 by cbcs_mike

Fifty three multi-sectoral Bangsamoro leaders converged in a dialogue-consultation on “Promoting Peace and Preventing Violent Extremisms” with a theme: “Promoting peace is Preventing Extremism” held at Estosan Hotel, Cotabato City on January 9-11, 2018.

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The activity is a Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) sponsored with a support from United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – Mindanao Office as their contribution in understanding the two critical but contrasting issues – peace processes and the rise of violent extremism.

In an aim to understand deeply the issue of rising violent extremisms, four prominent Resource Speakers were invited to shed light and present the issue from different lenses. Prof. Rufa Guiam spoke of: “Structural Roots of Extremism in the Bangsamoro from Transitional Justice Lens”.

From the Resource Person’s presentation, she stressed the Four Pillars of Transitional Justice as (1) right to know (the truth) (2) the right to justice as to the case of the Bangsamoro addressing the historical and human rights violations (3) the right to reparation and (4) right to guarantee of non-recurrence. And that without resolving or neglect of the above transitional justice, violent conflict will become a “vicious cycle” in any particular group of people or nations much more in the Bangsamoro context. Thus becomes a potential push-factor for a rising number of people joining the violent extremists’ ideologies.

On the same occasion Dr. Danda Juanday, Administrative Officer of the Local Government of Cotabato City in his opening and welcome message revealed that in their own initiatives in order to understand the root of violent extremism, discredit Islam as the reasons of peoples joining the extremists groups. He emphasized that majority of the communities involved in the studies pointed out that: (1) socio-economic reasons and (2) political dissatisfaction as drivers of peoples joining the group, however the biggest of them all he said is “people are becoming irritants and impatient over long-lingering non-resolution of the Bangsamoro problem.”

The idea was substantiated by Prof. Guiam who stressed that: “Only 1% among the many reasons why people join the violent extremists points to Islam as the reason”, according to some global studies.

She further quoted Dr. Garry LaFree and Bill Braniff who explained in their course that: “..various widely accepted statements about terrorism which were not based on empirical or scientific evidence and, in fact, had been proven wrong by research based on the Global Terrorist Database.” This is to refute the widely propagated issues that terrorisms and violent extremism always been connected with Islam or to Muslims the world-over.

By Mike Kulat

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Marawi City IDP Leaders Decried Militarization and Urge Passage into Law of BBL

Posted on 04 January 2018 by cbcs_mike

Prominent Internally Displaced Person (IDP) leaders of the Marawi City carnage mostly women after narrating their different heartbreaking experiences, suffering and anxieties ended with a synchronized assertion for demilitarization of Marawi City and instead work for the immediate passage into law of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission’s (BTC) drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now filed in the House of Representatives as HB6475. They further, emphasized that the passage into law of the BBL and eventually the implementation of Islamic laws are the only ultimate solution, so that the Marawi Crisis will not be repeated again as well as in all other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

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The different stories was told during the activity called “Listening Process” with IDP Community Leaders held at the Ayala Resort, Mindanao State University, Marawi City last December 19, 2017 sponsored by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) base in Cotabato City, headed by its Chairperson Mr. Guiamel Alim.

The burst of emotions came after an overview was given by Mike Kulat, Senior Program Officer of CBCS stressing that: “the process maybe new to some but necessary in order to document the actual experiences and sufferings of the victims of war”. Reminding that for the last two decades of lingering armed conflicts in the Moro dominated areas, there were occurring wars at least every two years and there were no concrete documentation on them.

In the past, what where counted were numbers of massive displacements, numbers of killed on both sides of protagonists, captured war materials including civilian lives in some cases. On this the Marawi Crisis, victims are lucky enough as there were much talks of “Marawi Recovery Programs” manifested by the existence of “Bangon Marawi Groups, a ten billion pesos President’s commitment and many others. Nevertheless, the usual recovery programs deals on; Buiding economy and businesses establish schools, rebuild hospitals and infrastructures. So the question is: Can these physical reconstruction and recovery fixed and remedy the root-cause of the problem? Can it cure traumatic and mental anguish due to lost of kit and kin? What about destruction of relationships, social dislocation and political disintegration? He added that these were the importance of the listening Process and from the victims’ perspective, documents their perceived alternative solutions and recommendation in order to avoid repetition of the same traumatic experiences not only in Marawi City but in the whole of Mindanao.

One unique story of a sudden war in Marawi was revealed by a Christian teacher happened to be trapped by the war while on seminar at the Noramis Convention Hall in Lilod Madaya. She disclosed that prior to the May 23 start of war, there were already talks of armed group’s threats of occupying Marawi City but disregarded by many including her. Even on the following day as sporadic firings were heard in Amai Pakpak Hospital and Dansalan College, she thought it was a simple rido as usual and will subside soon after authorities intervened.

A day after,” the burst of firings became intense until the first time I saw Omar (Maute) with a Yakan speaking fellow” she started. And continued: “She commanded all of us to go down of the hall, counted us and ask some questions. Then he ordered us to stay intact and come back to us later and then left for supervision of their troops.” And added that: “This was the time that the first thing that came into my mind was the Zamboanga Siege” and fear and anxiety, she stressed. After they left, the trapped groups were able to contact with Barangay Officials who instructed them to leave the place immediately towards Amai Pakpak Hospital before the armed men go back.

However, before we reached the place, “we met several patients escaping and told us that the hospital was already occupied by the Maute-ISIS groups”. So they redirected their route towards Matampay. Upon reaching the place, the teacher went back to Noramis since a number of her fellow Christians were left in the area who were new in Marawi that came from the municipalities of Bumbaran and Wa-o and do not know what to do.

When she delivered her fellow Christians to safer place only then she remembered to look for her seven month old baby left with her family. On the occasion of escaping she had to climbed to the closed gate of the Noramis in order to enter several times. At one time he met an escaping man and cried for help and she said: “this was the first time I saw how a man cries in times of severe crisis.”

Many different but similar stories were told of war experiences but were all ended up in taking the Marawi incident as hard lessons for self-reformation and transformation. However, the matter could only be effective and sustained by complementary structural mechanism through passage into law of the BTC darted BBL and returning back to Islam as a guiding principle in the day-to-day lives of not only the Maranaws but the Bangsamoro people as a whole.

Johary Ditucalan Ayo
CBCS Area Coordinator for Lanao

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CSO LEADERS RECALLS EXPERIENCES ON MARAWI CRISIS

Posted on 04 January 2018 by cbcs_mike

Twenty eight leaders of Moro civil society organizations (CSOs) converged in an activity called “Listening Process” conducted by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) in an aim to validate, document and fuse the multi-dimensional issues that came out after the infamous Marawi City Siege, that resulted in a tremendous destructions both physical and emotional aspects. The activity was held in Iligan City on December 18, 2017.

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Guiamel Alim in his welcome and overview of the event stressed that: “the process may sound to some as new process but a timely and long neglected process” especially on the case of the Bangsamoro who had been on armed-conflict for so long. He stressed that the process is a data-gathering and documentation that allows a “free-flowing story telling” without rebuttal.

He emphasized that the Marawi victims of crisis are lucky enough as the talks of “reconstruction, rehabilitations and recovery programs” had been talk of the town and becomes flavour of the day not only by the Meranaws but even on national scene. The usual reconstructions and recovery programs deals on: (1) Buiding economy and businesses (2) Establish schools (3) Rebuild hospitals, infrastructures (4) New laws, [parliament ... federalisms]. However, he quipped: “can the physical recovery fix the structural roots of the Marawi crisis and Bangsamoro problem as whole?” This is the main focus of the activity: “that the result will be used as an instrument in correcting historical injustices” against the Bangsamoro and identify both short term and long term solutions to recurring problems.

The participants different but identical personal experiences on the Marawi catastrophe ranging from deaths of close kins, caring of olds and the sickly during the sudden eruption of the unexpected war, destructions of houses and lost of properties and valuables. The narrations were usually interrupted with sobs as signs of deep traumatic effects of the war that remains in the heart of every victim.
On the issue of who’s to be blamed in the disastrous event, the participants expressed different outlooks as some blames the Maute-ISIS connections, some to blame the Local Government units (LGUs), the national government and the military. Other have it that Marawi incident is a government “pre-meditated” plans because of the prior threats were allowed to thrive. However, they all ended in their narration as one, that the matter was a shared responsibility including themselves and the whole people of Marawi City and its surrounding communities.

For one the Maute-ISIS connection had been in their midst for several years starting in Butig and Piagapo municipalities including the Marawi City occupation were public knowledge. The matter was known to the community peoples, the LGUs up to national level particularly Department of National Defence but no concrete actions were taken. The reason why Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana once revealed that there was miscalculation and underestimation of the capacity of the Maute-ISIS to do the threat. The narrators all admitted that there was a top-to-bottom neglect of a forthcoming danger at that time.

Majority of the narrators pointed out that the long term solutions to the problem is to unite in supporting the passage of the BTC drafted Bangsamoro Basic law, that will redound to self-reformation, advancing the Bagsamoro identity to include going back to Islamic systems of life. In so doing, using Marawi incident as hard lessons learned, if not the catastrophe will just be a vicious-cycle not only in Marawi City but in all other Bangsamoro areas.

Johary Ditucalan Ayo
CBCS Area Coordinator for Lanao

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