PEACETALK: This Bangsamoro Basic Law is our new formula for the very elusive peace in Mindanao

(Message of Ghazali B. Jaafar, Vice Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission during the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the BTC to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Malacañan Palace on July 17, 2017)

Mr. President,

It is four months since the Bangsamoro Transition Commission officially began its task crafting the new Bangsamoro Basic Law, which started during the Plenary Session in Cotabato City on March 6, 2017. And finally, the BTC Commissioners signed the draft basic law on June 16, 2017 or three (3) months and ten (10) days to be exact.

Mr. President, we can still remember the exhortations you made to us during the launching of the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which was held on February 24, 2017 in Davao City.

Allow me to quote you, Mr. President, Put your hearts into it, (unquote), you said so Mr. President and that is precisely what we did as a collegial body.

And so today, we are submitting the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) wherein we put our energy, dedication, collective intellect and with one singular interest, and that of the Bangsamoro people.

Conscious of the need for the implementation of signed agreements, particularly the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), we have made this new proposed BBL, faithful to the letter and spirit of the CAB and considerate of other agreements gained through decades of peace process such as the Tripoli agreement and the Final Peace agreement.

In fact, the new proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is now more inclusive, being a product of a Commission whose composition also reflects the widest inclusivity of all important stakeholders in the prospective Bangsamoro.

Again, let me quote you, Mr. President, Navigate the hindrances and obstructions, (unquote) you also told us that Mr. President.

Time, resources and unexpected events may have caused us difficulties, but these factors have been overcome by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission because we simply cannot allow these things to hinder or obstruct us in the performance you mandated us.

We believe that this new proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) reflects the diversity of interests of the Bangsamoro people, non-Bangsamoro indigenous people and settler communities; yet, these interests are all united under one goal of establishing a just, dignified and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro, in Mindanao and the country in general.

We humbly submit this new proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is the best antidote to violent extremism that has wrought havoc in many parts of the Bangsamoro.

Once legislated, this new BBL would erase the doubt on the peace process, that mistaken notion, which is fueling violent extremism among some Moros.

Mr. President, this Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is our new formula for the very elusive peace in Mindanao. The recent tragedy in Marawi City can only lead to the isolation and public hatred over the extremists. We believe that what they have done to the people of Marawi City they did it out of frustration.

What our people need is a just and dignified peace. They need the promises of peace that this Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) offers. Once established, the Bangsamoro government would be at the forefront of keeping public order and safety, dispensing justice within the bounds of law, and addressing the basic requisites of a good life long denied to the Moros. 

The leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as signatory to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and the leadership of the Moro National Liberation Front as signatory to the Tripoli Agreement and the Final Peace Agreement are committed to the fulfillment of the signed agreements, which practically cover all the legitimate aspirations of the Bangsamoro people. We need the passage of this proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) into law so that we can start rebuilding our lives.

We Moros truly believe that in your time and under your leadership, Mr. President, we your Moro brothers and sisters, as you have publicly declared, would see the dawning of a government in the Bangsamoro homeland which they truly deserve.

On behalf then of the entire Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), and the Bangsamoro people in general, and in behalf of the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the leadership of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and in behalf of the several hundreds Martyrs or Sahid of the Moro struggle I humbly submit to you Mr. President as our brother, as our leader, and as our President the new proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Thank you Mr. President.