Presidential bets present Bangsamoro peace agenda in dialogue with peace groups

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 February) – Presidential candidates will discuss before peace groups and Mindanao’s lone Cardinal, Orlando Quevedo, how they will move forward the Bangsamoro peace process when they become President.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the lone Mindanawon Presidential candidate, will be the first to present his peace agenda during the “Conversations with Presidential Candidates on the Bangsamoro Peace Process” this Friday, February 12, at 3 pm.. at the Waterfront Insular Hotel here.

“Conversations” is a series of dialogues with Presidential candidates on the Bangsamoro peace process, convened by the Friends of Peace, a group led by Cardinal Quevedo, the Archbishop of Cotabato.

Arrangements are still being finalized for the schedules of the other Presidential bets – Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Grace Poe, former Senator and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago but each candidate is given two to three hours for the dialogue.

Representatives of civil society groups and “bakwits” (evacuees) from the Bangsamoro and neighboring areas, will attend the dialogue.

In his letter to the Presidential candidates, Quevedo said an important milestone in the Bangsamoro peace journey was the signing in March 2014, after 17 years of peace negotiations, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The CAB provides, among others, for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to pave the way for the creation of a new Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The BBL, however, was not passed by the 16th Congress which adjourned on February 3.

“Expectedly, the Bangsamoro peace process will be carried over into the next administration,” the Cardinal said.

Quevedo said the “Conversations” will give the Presidential candidates a “platform to present your Peace Agenda, particularly on the Bangsamoro Peace Process and dialogue with members of civil society.”

The event will be livestreamed to allow those who could not make it to Davao City to take part in the “Conversations” by asking questions through social media.