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CSO Calls and Concern on the going GPH-MILF Negotiation

Posted on 28 August 2014 by Musa

Cotabato City (July 30, 2014) The BM civil society had been accompanying and supporting the peace process between the GPH and the MILF from the beginning. It has played important role in civilian protection and monitoring of the interim agreements. They are also instrumental in conducting consultations in aid of drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Hopes and expectations were high on the ground that said proposed BBL will merit favorable consideration from the government and that the new Bangsamoro government will serve as the final arbiter for lasting peace.
Those hopes and expectations were however dampened by the reported “heavily diluting” of the proposed BBL by the office of the president. Equally disturbing is the snail-pace progress in the review of PBBL by both the MILF and GPH panels where only minor issues had been resolved and the contentious ones are yet to be discussed and agreed.
The CSOs are deeply worried of the possible negative consequences if the major issues in the agreement are not resolved in due time and that the review will reduce significantly the substance of the agreement.

While we can not pre-empt the on-going efforts of the panels to arrive at a consensus, we can not hide the fact that the political environment is fainting scenarios that may adversely affect the Bangsamoro issue. The CSOs are also disturbed by the Supreme Court’s ruling of some parts of the DAP as unconstitutional, which paved the way for some sectors to file impeachment complaints against the president , as this may lead to making the Bangsamoro a less important concern and thus becomes a sacrificial lamb.
While we can understand that the government wants a bill that can withstand constitutional scrutiny and an autonomous government that is all-inclusive, we also see the need for the government to consider the legitimate aspirations of the Bangsamoro to its inalienable rights to self-determination. A basic law that does not auger well in responding to the demand for self-government and the big challenges of reforms and development in the Bangsamoro will be a hindrance to peace.
In balancing national sovereignty and right to self-determination there should be an exercise of flexibility using the dictum of the means justifying the ends.

For the sake of the hard-earned consensus, it is our fervent hope that the government will favorably consider the BM question with affirmative actions. We also appeal to the MILF to maintain cool heads amidst this situation. To the Bangsamoro at large, we ask you to continuously support and pray for the success of the peace talks.

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