MEMBERS of civil society organizations and the academe in Mindanao have called on legislators to abide by their “solemn duty to legislate and enact laws and to transform themselves as peace builders and not as ordinary lawmakers” in legislating the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
They said Mindanao-based CSOs will continue to lobby legislators from Mindanao in particular to attend sessions in the House of Representatives to ensure quorum so that the deliberations on the BBL could proceed and ensure its eventual passage.
“We call on them to consider the common good and not for self-interests,” said Atty. Romeo Cabarde, chair of Ateneo de Davao University’s Community Engagement and Advocacy at a media forum conducted concurrently with the launching of the Peace Photo Exhibit entitled “Peace Now! Mindanao” at SM City Davao on September 28.
He said “they must consider that the Bangsamoro Basic Law is no ordinary legislation as this is a result of 17 years of negotiation and is representative of the Bangsamoro people’s struggle for self-determination.”
Cabarde said they consider a BBL to be meaningful and acceptable for all if “it … recognize(s) the right of the Bangsamoro people’s right to self-determination and must be consistent with what has been agreed upon in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.”
He also said CSOs believe the BBL should reflect vested powers and benefits not less than what the existing laws already gave to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“They (should) be given genuine political autonomy and (should) not to be treated as an ordinary local government unit, which is consistent with the Constitution.” Cabarte said.
Lyndee Prieto, representative of the Initiatives for International Dialogue National Secretariat for International Dialogue, said CSOs would continue lobbying with legislators to religiously attend deliberations on the BBL and ensure quorum.
Prieto said despite the apparent “deliberate delays caused by successive lacks of quorum during sessions due to absences from the other legislators, our battle cry remains: Never say never to hopelessness and un-peace.”
Meanwhile, a peace photo exhibit entitled called “Peace Now! Mindanao” was put up at the SM City Davao last September 28 to mark the celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month. The exhibit ran up to October 2 and was organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Mindanao Media Bureau (MMB) in partnership with with PIA 11, Mindanews and the SM City Davao.
The photo exhibit aimed to provide a venue for the different stakeholders in Mindanao, including the grassroots to project their efforts and significant contributions in attaining genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao. “It provided a clear perspective of how the people in the grounds strive to work for peace in their respective localities,” said MMB Director Marlon Peter F. Dedumo. (PNA)