DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 June) — The message of Mindanao’s lone Cardinal to Muslim brothers and sisters on Eid’l Fitr, the end of the month-long Ramadan, is “peace in the heart” and lasting peace through a Bangsamoro Basic Law that complies with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, the Archbishop of Cotabato, said Catholics and Muslims have similar intentions in their religious practices, citing fasting and abstinence during Ramadan and Lent which are intended to “combat our inner passions, purify our inner selves and order them to the will of God,” and the practice of charity.
Quevedo said the bottomline of these physical and spiritual sacrifices is to restore peace “between us and God … between ourselves and others, and … between us and our environment.”
“Today we need peace more than ever,” he said.
The Cardinal said Ramadan and Lent teach Muslims and Catholics that the fundamental basis of peace is in the heart, where peace with God and with neighbors, should reign.
“Peace in the heart – this is my prayer for all of us,” he said.
Quevedo also expressed optimism that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) can bring about just and lasting peace.
“We know that the Bangsamoro Basic Law, if substantially compliant with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, will establish a legally binding just and lasting peace,” the Cardinal added.
The CAB was signed by the government and MILF peace panels in March 2014, under the Aquino administration. The BBL, however, was not passed during his term.
The passage of the BBL will pave the way for the creation of a new autonomous politica entity, the ‘Bangsamoro,’ which will replace the 28-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Its ratification will also lead to the second of the four-phased decommissioning of weapons and combatants of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.
The House of Representatives and the Senate passed their versions of the BBL on May 30 and 31, respectively. A Bicameral Conference Committee composed of 18 legislators from the House and 10 from the Senate will meet on July 9 to 13 to come up with the final version.
The two versions of the BBL have been met with criticisms for allegedly making the future Bangsamoro region less autonomous than the ARMM that it seeks to replace.
“Mangled,” “massacred,” “watered down” are among the descriptions of the two versions of the BBL, in comparison to the BBL drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, a 21-member body composed of 11 representatives from the MILF and 10 from the government.
MILF chair AL Haj Murad Ebrahim described the passed versions as “very diluted” but expressed hope they can still restore the provisions they lost in the bicameral committee.
In his message, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said Ramadaan is a time for “both reflection and struggle.”
“Our fast embodies the many choices we are faced with in this world: We are taught, at every moment, to submit to the will of Allah; to side with what is kind, just, and good; to cleanse ourselves of negativity; and ultimately, to emerge from every challenge with peace in our hearts and greater clarity of purpose,” he said.
In breaking their fast every sunset during iftar, “we were reminded that unity is integral to overcoming any struggle” and “just as wickedness might be contagious, the righteousness of those around us brightens and amplifies our own.”
Hataman said that banded together as peers and friends, as families, as communities, as one people sharing the same aspirations, “we become even more mindful of the greatness we can achieve through Allah.”
“May we move forward, truly united, as the Bangsamoro narrative unfolds,” he said. (MindaNews)