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Posted on 29 October 2015 by cbcs_mike

Forty five (45) Bangsamoro Leaders in Davao City converged in an assembly dubbed as: BANGSAMORO LEADERS PEACE FORUM with the theme Bangsamoro Unity and Solidarity: Laying Foundation towards Transition Governance was held at Apo View Hotel in Davao City on October 26, 2015.

Participants to the Bangsamoro Leaders Peace Forum during the overview presentation

Participants to the Bangsamoro Leaders Peace Forum during the overview presentation

The peace forum was jointly sponsored by the Consortium of Bangsamaoro Civil Society (CBCS) and the Malaysian Consulate General Office in the Philippines. The participants are selected leaders coming from various areas of Davao composed of those coming from MNLF leaning, MILF leaning, the religious or Ulama/Asatidz, traditional leaders or Datu/Sultans, women leaders and some Non-Islamized leaders. The main discussants are the various Deputy Mayors of Davao City representing major tribes residing within Davao areas among them Mike Nakan for Maguindananon tribes, Nicanor Mohammad for Kagan tribes and Randy Usman for the Meranao tribes. Also heads of prominent groups were invited as discussants are Hadja Rahma Abubakar Payopas for women, Mufti Mohammad Pasigan for the Ulama groups, Sultan Maulana Camamara for the traditional leaders and Halila Sudagar IP Mandatory Representative and Council member of Davao City local government.

Mr. Zawawi Tahir, the Malaysian Console General in the Philippines gave the inspirational message. He lengthily discussed the fruit of peace in Malaysia starting in attainment of their independence in 1957 from the hands of waves of invaders among them Japanese, Portuguese and British. The Console General pointed that: “What Malaysian today is a product of blood and struggle of the Malaysian people against waves of external aggression”. But the peace achieved with their independence made Malaysia at par with the most developed countries of the world.

Mr. Tahir allayed some fears and speculation that Malaysian had been helping in the peace process in Mindanao due to their economic and self-interests by saying: “Malaysia for the last thirty years had been assisting adjacent countries in Asia for establishing peace and development.” Sighting many reasons among others why they are deeply involved in the peace processes is that it is a regional responsibility among Asian nations to help their brother nations who are experiencing problems in their respective regions.

Secondly, he stressed that aside from thousands and thousands of refugees in Malaysia coming from Mindanao as a result of the continuing armed conflict had been posing problems to social and economic strategies of Malaysia. In other regions for instance he said: “Recently, Malaysia accepted around 6,000 Rohingyan refugees and committed to accept another 3,000 refugees from Syria’s war.” This sudden upsurge of population of Malaysia as result of regional armed conflicts in adjoining regions is affecting Malaysian growth and development, the reason why it involves so much in the peace process in Mindanao and other conflict-affected regions.

On the other hand, Mr. Guiamel Alim Chairperson of CBCS was the main resource person who discussed the GPH-MILF Peace Talks focused on scenario building on the current status of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now pending enactment into law in both Houses of Congress. He emphasized that among the near possibilities are: (1) Lack of political will by PNoy administration to influence Congress in passing an acceptable BBL coupled with hard stance of MILF to insist undiluted BBL. This scenario eventually results into no BBL under PNoy’s term. (2) MILF hard stance and insist undiluted BBL coupled with PNoy administration’s will to influence Congress to pass amended BBL. The possibility is that there will be BBL but unacceptable to MILF and the Bangsamoro (3) PNoy will to influence Congress in passing an acceptable BBL coupled with MILF’s acceptance of amended but CAB compliant BBL will consequently have hope having amended but acceptable BBL which is the most favorable scenario but remote possibility in the year 2015. (4) MILF’s acceptance of amended but CAB compliant BBL but PNoy’s lack of will to influence the Congress to pass an acceptable BBL will eventually lead to no BBL and pass the burden of resolving the issues to the next administration.

Mr. Alim pointed out and appealed to the participants to maximize and exhaust all their resources and efforts as influential groups in the few remaining days of the year 2015 in responding to any of the scenarios given above. As the Bangsamoro will be facing another and different kinds of scenarios once the administration changes after the May 2016 election. In essence over and above the four scenarios another crucial scenario is emerging that is when there is an “unacceptable BBL” or non-CAB compliant law submitted for ratification in a plebiscite and ratified by one or two provinces under the identified Bangsamoro Core Territory could be a disaster for the Bangsamoro’s aspiration to their right to self-determination.

Various issues and concerns of the participants to the peace forum were touched in the open forum that culminated in the signing of the position paper in support for the passing of original BBL embodied in HB 4994 and SB2408 as well as identifying their ways forward both on the remaining few months of 2015 and beyond.


By Fardju Indin

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