COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/18 November) – Poverty, rido (clan feud), conflict, discrimination, illiteracy, security problems and difficulty in accessing government services were among the common issues raised during a Bangsamoro visioning exercise held here on Nov. 15-17.
The participants expressed hopes the future Bangsamoro government would address these issues to create an environment that would enable them to lead peaceful lives.
The activity drew community and women leaders, revolutionary leaders and indigenous people from Cotabato City, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.
In his discussion on the Bangsamoro history, Professor Raby Angkal said “to understand the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), one must understand the Bangsamoro history.”
The Bangsamoro struggle, he said, seems to be unending because it started way back more than 400 years ago.
Saying they had lived under an independent state before the arrival of the Spaniards, Angkal said the Moros were then “better in socio economic and political status than today.”
“This is proven to be true,” he said. “Before, we have no problem in our economic and political conditions… as there was unity among the Moros before the coming of the Spaniards.”
“Before we were subjected to the Philippine government, Moros were very, very much united and they loved each other,” he narrated.
“When we succumbed to the government of the Philippines, that’s the very beginning… the economic condition and social status of Bangsamoro was ruined,” he added.
Wilma Madato, a women sector representative from Tawi-Tawi, said addressing the problems they are facing requires sincerity and commitment of the new government in leading the Bangsamoro people.
“The cooperation and participation of the Bangsamoro people to achieve the goal in the new Bangsamoro government (is also needed),” Madato said. (Rhoda Grace B. Saron/for MindaNews)