An assembly of multi-secotral leaders of the Bangsamoro attended by sixty-seven (67) participants coming from different parts of the surrounding provinces of Sarangani and South Cotabato was held in General Santos City on October 27, 2015.
The assembly is in response to the critical and uncertainty of the status of the enactment of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now pending under the hands of two Houses of Congress. Mohgher Iqbal, Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and also MILF’s Negotiating Panel head was invited as main resources speakers to give first hand information on the real status of the GPH-MILF Peace Talks.
In his input, Iqbal pointed out that: “There is still hope that BBL will be pass into law by Congress, but we are not sure”, and cited many reasons among others the lack of quorum in Congress’ sessions and the fast running out of time ending the year 2015.
He further explained that: “our optimism was based from the growing amounts of support from the International Communities’ initiatives who recently signed petition for the enactment of BBL, the Civil Society Organizations, the multi-sectoral groups and we members of the GPH-MILF Peace Panels”. Also he pointed out that: “One good thing is that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) signed recently the MNLF-MILF Unified Declaration that eventually supports the passage of the BBL into law.”
On the other hand he also emphasized their doubts for many reasons among others that: “Despite of the growing support, there are also growing obstacles in passing the BBL this year and there are those who do not want it to be passed; including the timing, now is already election period,” where everyone is already per-occupied on election campaigns which are posting doubts and apprehensions of the passage of the BBL into law this year. However he stressed that: “this is the real situation but we need to find ways in search for genuine peace for all of us.”
During the open forum, various questions and clarification were tackled that gave clearer views on many issues surrounding BB status in Congress. And one hard question raised by the participants says: “If the BBL will not be passed as MILF wanted it to be, is the MILF still have the capacity to wage war against the government?” Chairman Iqbal clarified on matter that even if there is no BBL at the present administration: “there will be continuance of the peace process.” As he elaborated that: “we already had extensive experience of war in our long struggle. Even at time when we started the struggle and we were not certain that our weapons were competent enough to fight but we fought because we need to.”
Iqbal retorted that the real issues here are the deceptions, oppression and injustices done to the Bangsamoro despite of the sufficient domestic and international instruments that guarantees right to self-determination of the groups of peoples of the world. So the question must not rest on whether we have the capacity but must be laid on the bases of whether you want to advance your rights trampled or not. And said: “The Bangsamoro are doing their struggle to restore what they lost in waves’ of deceptions and invasions. One proof of this is your area was originally Dadiangas and now replaced with General Santos City. ” he ended.
By Ebrahim Sandigan