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Posted on 14 December 2017 by cbcs_mike

More than a hundred political science students of at least nine colleges and universities of Zamboanga Peninsula converged in an activity dubbed as “Forum on Human Rights, Violent Extremism and Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)” in celebrations of Mindanao Week of Peace 2017.


The activity was sponsored by Inter-Faith Forum for Peace represented by its Executive Secretary Ms Faye Mae Reyes in partnership with SCC-Kadugtong Community Involvement, Amnesty International, SCC Polisays and Artes Liberales held at Diocesan Pastoral Center, Balangasan, Pagadian City on December 9, 2017.

On the three major topics, Dr. Nora Agustero, vice president for Academic Affairs of SCC in her welcome remarks said that the theme and issues of the peace forum are timely and “heavy issues and topics” that will deal with a “social justices”.

Sultan Maguid Marohom, Executive Director of Ummah Fii Salam expounded the rise of violent extremists from global setting down to local level. He also gave its corresponding causes and effects of such extremism as that of the recent Marawi Crisis.

On Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws was delivered by Human Rights Lawyer Atty. Kenny Sabellano who spoke of the basic rights of every individual person even in time of state emergencies or martial laws.

The resource person on updates on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was Mr. Mike Kulat, Senior Program Officer of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) based in Cotabato City briefly described that: “BBL is giving social justices to the centuries old clamour of the Bangsamoro people for their right to self-determination”. And added that on matter of human rights he said: “the biggest human rights violation for the Bangsamoro is the wholesale and collective continuing denial by the government of their right to self-determination which will hopefully be addressed by the BBL.” The right to self-determination aspired by the Bangsamoro are within the ambits of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws and even by the domestic laws.

In conclusion, he appealed to the youth and students in supporting the current Government, MILF, MNLF and the broad stakeholders’ initiatives for peaceful political settlement of the Bangsamoro Question once and for all.

He also sighted among others our leaders pronouncements as: Former Congressman Ali Pangalian Balindong in his campaign materials that: “The BBL is our last Chance for Peace.” No less than President Duterte in his departure speech to Japan on October 29 emphasized on BBL that: “If we do not act on it expeditiously, I think we are headed for trouble. I will urge Congress to fast track it because the Moro rebels are getting impatient.”

No less than MILF 1st Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar stressed in a Press Conference with International Media held on September 22, 2017 stressed that: “If all political initiatives are exhausted, we will take up arms again.”

These statements coming from top leaders of both the government and non-state actors coupled with evident rise of extremisms are enough warning and looming situation when Congress fails to enact BBL immediately.

By Ms Mohaiya Pua

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