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Posted on 19 September 2014 by cbcs_mike

Cotabato City – Two hundred twenty (220) participants coming from various sectors of society attended a forum tagged as “Balitaktakan Hinggil sa Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law Community Forum” (Community Discussion on Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law) sponsored by the Kutawato Multi-Media Network (KuMuNet) a loose formation of civil society organizations (CSOs) and peace groups organized by Forum Civil Peace Service popularly known as Forum ZFD – an international organization base in Germany successfully conducted at Em Manor Hotel in this city last Thursday.


Invited as resource persons were BTC Chair Mohagher Iqbal, represented by Abdullah “Dong” Kusain head of the BTC Communication Group, Atty Al Julkifli of the GPH Panel Legal Team, BTC Commissioner Froilyn Mendoza and Captain Azahar Adam of the International Monitoring Team-9. Representative of the 6th Infantry Division’s Civil Military Operation declined to speak due to some military protocol constraints but did not elaborate. While the bulk of participants came from CSOs (NGOs & POs), local government units like Barangay Officials, line agencies and those from ARMM Government. There were also representations from the academe, students, teachers and professionals. Key community leaders from the T’duray-Lambangian and other sectors including the military headed by Lt. Colonel Haroun Al-Rashid and major Jimmy Matalam of CMO Office, 6ID PA and those from International organizations.

The invited resource person were given a time to make brief statements and commitments to the peace process particularly the current and most hoped proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) just submitted to Congress. Abdullah Kusain in behalf of the BTC Chair lauded the the sponsors of the timely activity on public discussion of the BBL being part of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) saying: “Through this public discussions, we will be able to overcome various issues crafting due to lack of understanding.” On the part of Atty. Al Julkifili he gave emphasis on next scenario after the proposed BBL was submitted to Congress and assured the participants of the involvement of the GPH Panel and the legal team in the process of deliberations in congress and of public information.

BTC Commissioner Froilyn Mendoza representing the Non-Islamized natives challenged the participants now that the copies of BBL is out for public scrutiny to “look for the peoples demand and expectations if they are included in the BBL?” and get involved to develop peoples’ ownership of the process. Captain Azahar Adam of the IMT-9 imparted beautiful phrases to remind the participants of the fragility of the peace process saying that: “peace is hard to achieve but easy to destroy” and therefore a need for people to unite in the long way to peace since peace is an unending process.

The most interesting part of the forum was the audience interaction with the resource persons in the open forum which was given ample time. It was in this part where various issues from the public about the BBL were thoroughly discussed and duly responded to the satisfaction of the participants. The whole substance of the interaction was synthesized by Mike Kulat, Administrative Officer of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) who also acted as Emcee/Facilitator together with Bobby Benito, Executive Director of MinHRAC. CBCS is a member convener of the KuMuNet group as part of their collaborative efforts with other stakeholders in their massive information campaign on the GPH-MILF Peace Talks and other peace advocacy.

The program was officially closed by Ms Karen Waterman Project Manager of Forum ZFD who gratefully thanked the resource persons for the excellent inputs and the active interaction of the more than two hundred participants.

By Mark Hussain

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