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CSO’s in Mindanao Support the Draft BBL

Posted on 27 January 2015 by Farj

“What We Believe is the Best Scenario for the Bangsamoro”

Position Paper of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS)
The proposed BBL (HB 4994) shall be viewed from the perspective of resolving the BM question, e.g., their long-standing aspiration to regain their right to self-determination and development as people whose existence even preceded the establishment of the present Philippine republic.

In looking at the intrinsic values of the proposed BBL, we shall give premium to the highest interests of all for peace and development in the Bangsamoro, rather than the parochial, political, economic and personal interests of the few;
As an agreed version of autonomy by the parties in conflicts, e.g. the Government and the MILF and a product of 17-year old peace negotiations, the BBL shall be seen as an ultimate remedy to the historical injustices against the BM and one that will respond to their legitimate grievances.
Right to self-determination as the third generation human rights includes the collective right of peoples to determine their political status and to freely pursue their social, cultural and economic development;
Autonomy, as in the case of the Bangsamoro provided in the BBL, is a far departure from the original demand of an independent state by the Bangsamoro;
Lest we forget, the Bangsamoro in the past had always invoked their collective rights for self-determination expressed in their demand for a separate state in response to colonial aggression and national oppression. This state of affairs led the Moro people to become politically disenfranchised, economically marginalized, culturally alienated and socially disintegrated. These are concrete evidences of historical injustices.
Asserting their rights peacefully in an attempt to have their legitimate demands heard, the leaders of the Bangsamoro in the past had made several declarations including appeals to then congress to recognize their inherent rights to self-governance and development. It was only when all these efforts fell on deaf ears that the Moro people organized an armed struggle against the national government. The rest is history.
Convinced to resolve the BM question through negotiations, the BM entered into peace talks with the Philippine governments from 1974 up to the present. Attempts at finding solutions to the centuries-old question of the Bangsamoro included the establishment of the Office of the Muslim Affairs now the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, creation of administrative regions 9 and 12, and the establishment of autonomous governments through Republic Acts 7634 and RA 9054. All of which did not improve the lives of the Bangsamoro. They were “failed experiments”.
The present HB 4994 is an attempt to fill the gaps and complement the inadequacies of the past efforts.However, without empowering the Bangsamoro government through adequate authorities and resources at their disposal, will likely defeat the very purpose of self-determination and the repeat of the mistakes of the past. The tremendous challenges of peace and development and the potential bottlenecks in the Bangsamoro require the implementation of the normalization process which necessitateenough resources and extra strong political determination and collective efforts.
The foregoing should be the proper perspectives to which the BBL should be analyzed and the bases for its support.
WE, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), a network of BangsaMoro-led NGOs and POs in Mindanao, support and endorse the HB 4994 without prejudices to additional favors the congress can consider for an easier, earlier and quicker development in the Bangamoro.
We believe that:
1. The agreed version of autonomy by the OP and the MILF as outlined in the BBL, is a formula that is satisfactory to the Bangsamoro and acceptable to the government. Any diminutionthereof will reduce the possibility of a strong autonomy that is able to overcome the challenges and potential bottlenecks in the Bangsamoro;

2. The BBL (HB 4994) will resolve the historical injustices against the BM and will response to their legitimate grievances;

3. The BBL is a mechanism that will grant the BM their right to self-determination without jeopardizing the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of the Philippines;

4. A formula that will facilitate national unity and reconciliation between the BM and the national government.
However, we firmly believe that additional favors the congress can offer to the draft BBL will further facilitate early development in the proposed BM, to wit:
1. To create an office in the BM government that will serve the interests of the BM people living outside the BM core territories in coordination with the NCMF;

2. To increase the block grant to respond to the possible inclusion of additional territories of the BM as well as to provide IRA to LGUs that are not presently recipients of the same.

3. The congress to positively consider the Bangsamoro waters and the zones of joint cooperation which is important for the Bangsamoro people, especially for the sama, tausug etc. to ensure that not only commercial fishers are given rights, but most especially small fishers are given rights to these waters;

4. The congress to reconsider extending the term of the BTA considering the enormous tasks ahead the latter has to undertake within a very short period. This will allow the BTA to legislate quality codes, especially those related to elections, bureaucracy, revenues and civil service as well as plan, approve and execute the phase out plan of the ARMM;

5. The congress to consider contiguous areas those connected by waters allowing territories to join the Bangsamoro through petitions or resolutions;

6. The congress should consider a provision that will allow the BM the power to identify and construct new roads in the BM the funding thereof should be with the BM while the national government shall be responsible for maintenance of existing national roads.

We reiterate our support to and endorsement of HB 9449 without prejudices to additional favors as enumerated aboveby the congress. We appeal that our position be considered favorably by the congress.


KFI Compound, Doña Pilar Street
Poblacion IV, Cotabato City
S.E.C. Reg. No. 2002 – 61624
Telefax: 064-421-5420



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