Hope springs eternal for peace advocates as they commemorated on Monday the anniversary of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that was forged three years ago, and called for the passage of a law that will implement wider autonomy for Muslims in Mindanao.
In a statement, the All-Out Peace (AOP) and Mindanao Peaceweavers (MPW) renewed their support for the CAB, as they reiterated their “collective resolve for a genuinely inclusive peace roadmap that secures the present and the future not just of Bangsamoro but of the whole nation.”
“It is in this context that we register our support and call for the immediate enactment of a Bangsamoro enabling law that reflects all principled and meaningful solutions to seek a final answer to the Bangsamoro question and resolve the decades-old Mindanao conflict,” they said.
“Despite the setbacks suffered by the CAB in recent years, starting with the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano and the failure of the 16th Congress to pass a BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), we believe that the CAB, and those who believe in it, have weathered the storm,” the peace advocates said.
The AOP and MPW urged President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the implementing peace panels and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) “to fast-track the peace process as we cannot afford anymore delay.”
“The strategy of the new administration to actually build on what has been accomplished in the past and to continue previous commitments, including the implementation of signed agreements from past administrations is a welcome development. Already, even if an enabling law has yet to be hammered by the BTC and enacted by Congress, a Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission mandated by the CAB has delivered on its major task by issuing a report and proposing recommendations primarily based on extensive consultations in the Bangsamoro areas,” they said.
The Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the CAB and its annexes on March 27, 2014. However, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was stalled in the previous Congress following the brutal massacre of 44 police commandos in a botched anti-terrorist raid in Maguindanao where Muslim rebels were implicated.
In November last year, Duterte signed an executive order reconstituting the 21-member BTC that will craft an enabling law for the Bangsamoro.
Duterte on February 2 released the names of all BTC members. The commission consists of 11 members from the MILF, seven from the government, and three from the Moro National Liberation Front.
The BTC is expected to submit the draft law to Congress by July for deliberation.