The Philippines can draw lessons from the peaceful conduct of Scotland’s independence referendum that can be applied in the establishment of the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, according to the government’s chief peace negotiator.
In a statement, Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on Monday said Scotland, whose people decided on September 18 to stay with the United Kingdom, showed the world that public support could be courted through “reason and arguments” instead of “bombs and bullets.”
“Either way the vote may have turned out, the point is that in expressing nationalist aspirations for independence and determining the will of the people in and of Scotland, nobody had to kill nor to be killed,” Ferrer added.
The chief government ne-gotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is hoping the same for the Bangsamoro, whose creation rests on Congress that will debate and vote on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law in the coming months.
“More than 100,000 people had to die and millions of people displaced in the course of the armed conflict propelled by Moro nationalism. May this violence be truly a thing of the past,” Ferrer said.
She noted that the Scottish referendum opens the door for what British Prime Minister David Cameron termed as “a new and fair settlement,” the government’s bold offer for more devolution, specifically on the issues of tax, spending and welfare.
A similar process is being undertaken with the Bang-samoro Basic Law seeking to “provide for more devolved powers to the Bangsamoro, in order to enable meaningful self-governance of the people in the upcoming autonomous region while remaining part and parcel of national politics and society,” Ferrer said.
Eyed to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the proposed Bangsamoro political entity will also enjoy more devolved powers such as income generation and parliamentary form of government.