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Posted on 10 August 2015 by cbcs_mike

The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) expanded its regular monthly meeting <!–more–>, instead of the traditional Regular Staff included leaders of their network organization members. The Meeting was conducted on August 5 – 6, 2015 with forty-four attendance held at KFI convention Hall, Cotabato City.

CBCS Regular Staff with the Leaders of their network members during the  meeting proper

CBCS Regular Staff with the Leaders of their network members during the meeting proper

The expanded meeting was triggered by the recent status of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which the civil society organization (CSOs) faithfully supported and accompanied during crafting period and enactment of and is now under the hands of two Houses of Congress. It is a known fact that after the AdHoc Committee on BBL approved its committee report on June 10, 2015; substantial changes, dilution and insertion were made to the BBL’s original text as embodied in HB 4994 and Senate Bill No.2408 as shown by the new Lower House version HB 5811 and new title Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR).

The CSOs apprehension were heightened further by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission’s (BTC) coming up of Resolution No. 005, series of 2015 dated July 29, 2015; virtually rejecting HB 5811 or the Lower House own BBL version. The House Version as seen by legal luminaries and concerned lawyers estimated that under the new version only about 40% was left in spirit to the original BBL and finally, HB 5811 is a law “lesser than the ARMM” law which was considered by no less than President Benigno C. Aquino III as “failed experiment” and in agreed between MILF Chair AlHaj Murad Ebrahim and Presiden Aquino’s Tokyo 10 point principles that, ARMM as “Status Quo is unacceptable”. In short if the Congress tends to pass a law “lesser than ARMM Law” which is already declared by the president and the MILF as unacceptable, then there is no way HB 5811 will be acceptable to the MILF and the Bangsamoro as whole.

The consequences of having an unacceptable law and eventually will not solve one of the longest armed conflict in Asia and even in the world of which the 18 year painstaking GPH-MILF Negotiation deals with is unimaginable to the CSOs.

On the above context CBCS and the participating member-network leaders agreed to maximize their advocacy, efforts and resources in an aim to appeal to the members of the two Houses Congress; House of Representatives and House of Senate to retain the spirit of original BBL and pass a law that is in conformity with the morale-fibre of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) that was signed between GPH and MILF Panels on October 15, 2012 and March 27, 2014 respectively.

The first batch of the Lobby Group that will deal on the members of Congress for a period of one week were: (1) Atty. Almorzi Tabarasa from Tawi-Tawi (2) Allan Pisingan from Basilan (3) Prof. Octavio Dinampo from Sulu (4) Prof. Duma Mascud Al- Haj from Cotabato City and Maguindanao (5) Ustadz Yusoph Lumambas from North Cotabato (6) North Cotabato Board Member Datu Kelly Antao (7) Hasmine Faustino from Women’s Group (8) Baintan Abdula from Maguindanao (9) Dr. Annierah Usop from Cotabato City and Maida L. Kadtong from women’s group.

The advocacy group will split into two; one group will lobby in the House of Representatives and the other half will lobby to House of Senate. The group tasked for 2nd, 3rd and 4th batch are likewise identified and prepared.

By Mike Kulat

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