“Yes to BBL” groups to march around Congress; “No to BBL” groups troop to Luneta

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 May) – Peace groups supporting the passage of a “meaningful” Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) or one that respects the spirit and letter of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by government (GPH) and the Moro Islamci Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014 will do a Jericho March outside the House of Representatives on Monday, May 18 while those opposing the BBL will troop to Luneta on Sunday, May 24.
Peace groups from Mindanao and Manila, according to their press statement, will hold a “

“Jericho March” to stop the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (AHCBBL) from passing a watered down version of the BBL.

“Like the Biblical Joshua who toppled the walls of Jericho using the noise of trumpets, a thousand protesters composed of Muslims and non-Muslims will march around congress blaring horns and whistles to topple the impediments being placed by legislators on the passage” of a BBL “true to the letter and spirit of the CAB.”

Around a thousand supporters of a “meaningful” BBL will march seven times from the south gate to the north gate” of the House of Representatives at 1 p.m. Monday, May 18, “while blowing trumpets made of carabao horn called ‘budyong’ or ‘tambuli,’ their press statement said.

The marchers will also use pots and pans, makeshift drums, whistles, and other noise makers so as “to generate sufficient noise to shake the windows and rattle the halls of the House of Representatives and topple the plans of some legislators to water down the BBL.”

The peace groups holding the Jericho March are the All Out Peace, Anak Mindanao (AMIN), Bawgbug Human Rights and Peace Center, Akbayan, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Peace Camp, United Youth for Peace and Development (UnYPaD), and Kilos Maralita.

The groups said they are not supporting a BBL “that would water down the bill to the point that the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) would be significantly better.”

The press statement quoted Abdul Malik Cleofe, Program Coordinator of the Bawgbug Human Rights and Peace Center, as saying the revisions being proposed to the BBL are “tantamount to killing the whole essence of the BBL, which is a political document born out of the peace negotiations.”

“What is being proposed by Hon. Rodriguez is a piece of legislation that would give nothing new to the Bangsamoro people and in fact is a step backwards from what the ARMM is offering right now,” Cleofe said.

Those opposing the passage of the BBL, on the other hand, are trooping to Luneta on Sunday, May 24.

It is not clear who is organizing the mass action but the move to take to Luneta was made a month ago, through Facebook, announcing the “Yes To Peace, No To BBL!” activity from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon in Luneta “to show their opposition to the BBL that is foreseen, if passed, to cause more political, social, cultural and economic turmoil for the country, and set it up for dismemberment in the future,” that BBL “presents a clear and present danger to national wellbeing.”

Former Local Governments Secretary Rafael Alunan said the groups that will converge in Luneta “will pray instead for a just and lasting peace for all Filipinos – regardless of creed – who pledge themselves to one country, one nation, one flag.”

“It is hoped that our Legislators in the House and the Senate will draw the line between political loyalty and loyalty to the Constitution, and between vested interests and the national interest, Alunan said, adding “”if you say Yes to Peace and No to BBL, please go and bring your families, relatives and friends too. I will be there be in solidarity. Watch out for further details regarding the exact location for our convergence. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!,” Alunan said. (MindaNews)