PRIVILEGE SPEECH: Know us. Kilalanin nyo kami. Know our story.

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(Privilege Speech delivered by Anak Mindanao Party-List Rep. Sitti Djalia A. Turabin-Hataman at the House of Representatives on 3 February 2016)

Bismillahi Rahmanni Rahim. Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi taala wabarakatuhu. What is left to say when all has been said?

If I had my way, I’d rather keep my silence than speak, for the nth time, only to have my words fall again into emptiness. But as a Moro, silence cannot be an option in these trying times.

No the BBL is not our sole desperate chance to Peace. But it could’ve been the door we have long waited and labored to open. Thus, please bear with our frustrations and hurt as we face another closed door. Why? Perhaps more than the frustration over the death of the BBL in this Congress, we are most hurt by the question, Why?

Our search for answers only led us to even more painful realizations. Are we asking for too much? Is there anything in the Bangsamoro Basic Law that we do not deserve? What is the basis of this determination?

Throughout the deliberations, from the AdHoc Committee to this plenary, we, your fellow members of this honored chamber, we, whom you call your esteemed colleagues, sat through and endured statements and doubts on our capacity, our sincerity, our trustworthiness, questions on our history, our very own identity. Sometimes we bravely engaged, other times we were too stunned to respond, but most of the time, we just prayed in silence. Sometimes we can barely look at some of you for we do not want you to see how much your words, wittingly or unwittingly, hurt us. But there are also some whose overwhelming support gave us strength and inspiration.

I remember one of our colleagues, from Luzon, who came while one of our colleagues was interpellating, he said, “Paano nyo to nakakayanan?”

Sa usapin ng Bangsamoro Basic Law, ang loob ng Kongreso ay naging salamin nang kabuohan ng bansa, may mga sumusuporta, may mga kontra, at may mga walang pakialam. Sa bawat diskurso at debate, iba iba ang pinanghawakang basehan, kung sino-sino ang pinangalanang nagsabing ganito at ganyan, may kuro-kuro at opinion, ang iba’y nahagip na balita lamang. Ang mayaman at malayang talakayan ay ating pinahalagahan, sa paniniwalang magbubukas ito ng isipan at puwang upang lalong maintindihan ang ating isinusulong na kapayapaan. Ngunit bakit ngayon, ay muli tayong nahaharap sa kawalan ng pag-asa?

Ano po ba ang hindi katanggap-tanggap sa aming mga pangarap? Ang mamuhay ng tahimik? Ang matulog ng mahimbing? Ang makakain ng sapat at mula sa malinis at marangal na hanapbuhay? Ang taas-noong ipagmalaki na kami ay Pilipino katulad niyo, nang hindi kailangang itago o ikahiya o talikuran ang sarili naming lahi na kahit kailan ay hindi isinuko ng aming mga ninuno.

Alam po namin na maraming ibang batas na kailangang talakayin, ngunit ito rin po ang basehan ng aming realisasyon, PANG-ILAN PO BA KAMI, ANG AMING KINABUKASAN, SEGURIDAD AT BUHAY SA PRAYORIDAD NG KONGRESONG ITO?

We were told, countless times, in different ways and gestures and words, we cannot be trusted. Every provision of the law was suspected to be geared towards something else. When Mamasapano happened, we were blamed for a violence right inside our home. We were told, we cannot be trusted, we are not sincere, we are terrorists. Thus, we do not deserve what we ask for, what was promised to us, what was agreed upon.

May nagsabi pa pong Senador, bakit ba ibinibigay ng gobyerno lahat ng gusto nitong mga Moro? At nagmamadali pa?

Honorable members of this House, I am no longer inclined to answer all these accusations. Bukod po sa pagod na pagod na kaming magpaliwanag at makiusap, baka po mauwi lang uli sa wala. But please allow me to make a plea. Know us. Kilalanin nyo kami. Know our story. The injustices and the unworthiness and the insincerity we are accused of, know how much of these are our very own truths and realities. Know that nothing in this Bill was not ours long before this nation was born. In fact it is far far less than who and what we are.

Know us, for the greatest injustice we as legislators can do, is enact or in this case, not enact a law for a people we do not even know, we did not care to know. Know the Bangsamoro, for how can we, in God’s name and in the name of our people, decide the fate and lives of a people based on our own ignorance?

Meantime, ladies and gentlemen, I remind myself and the rest of the Bangsamoro, and all who believe in our cause, a verse in the Holy Qur’an, “And the servants of the Merciful Lord are those who walk on the earth with humility, and when they are confronted by an ignorant person they say peace (and move away).”

Maraming Salamat. Wassalamu alaikum. (Privilege Speech delivered by Anak Mindanao Party-List Rep. Sitti Djalia A. Turabin-Hataman at the House of Representatives on 3 February 2016)


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