Mind da News: “Bangsamoro” Must Go to Congress

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 25, 2014Bangsamoro: Documents and Materials, the two-volume book  jointly published by the Ateneo de Davao University and MindaNews and launched last April 9, should make a grand landing (ops! launching) in the two Houses of the Congress. This should be done to help in the proper deliberation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law bill which the President will “certify” and submit on May 5.

The book, a compilation of speeches, news, commentaries, documents and statements on the recently-signed CAB, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed on October 15, 2012 and its four annexes [signed on various dates in 2013 and 2014]– Wealth-Sharing, Power-Sharing,  Normalization and Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, and Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters” (MindaNews, April 13), will provide a comprehensive background for the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The contributors to the book are from the Mindanao media, the academe and peace advocacy groups – Moro, non-Moro, Mindanaon, non-Mindanaon, and non-Filipino – have been immersed in the Bangsamoro or Mindanao Problem. They write from their personal knowledge and/or experiences and active involvement in the various phases of the peace process according to their capacities. With what they have written and the official documents together with the speeches of the President and of other top officials on the peace process, the book is most enlightening.

We believe – not just think – the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process with the peace panels of Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front should sponsor the launching. If Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. are sincere in their avowed support for the Bangsamoro, the most meaningful manifestation of their sincerity is for them to co-sponsor the “Bangsamoro” book launching right in the Congress.

Biases and prejudices distort the proper understanding of the Bangsamoro or Mindanao Problem. Such distortion undermines the peace process.  Biases and prejudices can spoil the peace process right in the Congress which will happen if the Bangsamoro Basic Law passed is alien – as ETs are to Earthmen – to the Agreements and the BBL draft. “Bangsamoro”, the book, can help overcome misunderstanding of “Bangsamoro”, the political settlement.

Ateneo de Davao University and MindaNews should be commended for putting out the book which puts in focus and in proper perspective the peace process of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front most especially at this most crucial time which can spell either “triumph” or “bust” to the 17-year peace negotiation.

MindaNews chief editor Carolyn O. Arguillas and the Ateneo de Davao University’s Romulo Vinci R. Bueza and Atty. Jamil Adrian Khalil S. Matalam with Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan as Technical Consultant edited the book. They equally deserve the commendation. May their enthusiasm, time and efforts be properly rewarded!

President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles and the peace panels of Government and MILF have been appealing for support of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.  The Bangsamoro: Documents and Materials is such a timely — and potent, too – response. Will they take it up from there – taking it to the Congress to help enlighten the deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law?

[Author’s Note: Mind da News, the alternate of COMMENT, is an opinion on current news. The author may be contacted at [email protected].]