Former govt officials, businessmen back BBL

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FORMER government officials and business leaders on Friday called for the passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which creates an autonomous region in Mindanao that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

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The International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov), a group of former senior government officials, corporate heads and civil society leaders, stood firm on its position for the passage of the Bangsamoro law consistent with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“The implementation of the peace agreement between the government and the MILF will end decades of conflict and allow the full development of the Moro people, encouraging more investments over time, which will create jobs and expand the tax base for social investment,” Alberto Lim, INCITEGov vice president, said.

Lim, a former secretary of the Department of Tourism, explained that the armed conflict in Mindanao, especially in the Bangsamoro region, had prevented Filipino Muslims from reaching their full potential, thus stunting economic growth in the process.

“Poverty incidence in ARMM is 48.7 percent, or one in two Moros. Peace will allow economic development to take root and allow Moros to play a bigger role in Philippine development,” he added.

Meanwhile, Young Public servants (YPS) President Ching Jorge urged the Filipino youth to have a more “pro-active role” in the Bangsamoro peace process.

“As partners for peace building and national development, the youth’s role is critical in fostering harmonious relationships among and between the multi-ethnic, multicultural people of this country. Mindanao is a shared territory,” Jorge said.

The YPS, a group of young dynamic individuals focused on promoting good governance and democratic citizenship among the youth, forms part of the larger group that is INCITEGov.

“Young Moros are determined to be part of reforming the ARMM and refuse to accept things as they are. They believe change can happen through the CAB and through the passage of the BBL. We hope to see the same drive and resolve from all Filipino youth,” Jorge said.

At the height of the media frenzy after the Mamasapano massacre, INCITEGov called for sobriety, asking “our policy makers not to compromise the legislative hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Restraining or delaying the enactment of this bill may hinder and greatly affect our aim for lasting peace in Mindanao.”

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