Int’l group backs BBL

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The fate of the Bangsamoro entity not only rests on Congress but also in the hands of the people, according to the Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), an international political foundation.

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KAS country representative Benedikt Seeman made the statement as he committed the support of the foundation to the establishment of the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

“The fate of the Bangsamoro Basic Law [BBL] is not only in the hands of the Parliament [Congress] but also of the people,” said Seeman during a forum titled: “Development Opportunities and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamaro” in Makati City (Metro Manila) on Tuesday.

As the people of Mindanao prepare for the establishment of Bangsamoro, according to him, stakeholders should not only talk about inclusive growth but also of inclusive peace.

Organized by the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies (IBS) and in partnership with various stakeholders that included KAS, the forum sought to discuss development opportunities and prospects even as the debate on the BBL is yet to start.

“Realizing that sustainable development is a catalyst to achieving lasting peace in the Philippines, most specifically in Mindanao, there is a need to raise awareness and knowledge about opportunities that will promote economic advancement in the Bangsamoro,” the IBS said.

In the same forum, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the Senate and the House of Representatives have committed to pass the BBL in the first quarter of 2015, at the very latest. A plebiscite will then be held and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority will be appointed to serve in the interim period prior to the conduct of elections for the Bangsamoro government in 2016.

In a speech delivered for her by Undersecretary Jose Lorena of the Bangsamoro Peace and Development, Deles said in the coming weeks, legislators will be going around in Mindanao to conduct public consultations.

“As all these happens, the normalization process shall be implemented simultaneously. Next week, members of both peace panels will be meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to finalize the composition of two important mechanisms for normalization–the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the International Decommissioning Body—in order to put the process underway. The passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will lead to more milestones for peace that would pave the way for the decommissioning of more arms from the MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] side,” she added.

“The big picture is that we are at the threshold of shared security and shared prosperity in the Bangsamoro, radiating to the entire country, our Asean neighbors and perhaps, even the world,” Deles said.

“Through the Bangsamoro, we shall build an economy of equal opportunity. Each will enjoy the benefits of good governance, social equity, and most of all, the rule of law in a society of cultural and religious diversity,” she added.

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