Evangelical churches plead Congress to pass Bangsamoro law

COTABATO CITY(MindaNews/1 February)—The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), the largest umbrella of evangelical Christian organizations in the country, has urged Congress to give peace in Mindanao a chance by approving the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Bishop Efraim Tendero, PCEC national director, said they support the establishment of the Bangsamoro government, which would be realized with the enactment and ratification of the BBL.

“We pray that this Bangsamoro Basic Law would pass the careful, responsible examination and deliberation in the House of Representatives [and Senate] using the lenses of justice, righteousness, and peace for all,” he said in a statement.

The PCEC is the largest network of evangelical Christians in the Philippines composed of 30,000 evangelical churches, 69 denominations, and 160 parachurch and mission organizations, according to the group.

The peace panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expect to sign the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), their final peace deal, within two months.

This after they forged the Annex on Normalization, the last of the four annexes of FAB, last January 25 in Malaysia, the third party facilitator. The previously signed annexes are the Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, and Power Sharing.

The FAB and its four annexes shall comprise the CAB whose legality will be enshrined through the BBL, which is currently being drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

“We pray that the drafting of the BBL by the BTC would reflect the just and peaceful aspirations of all the Moro people, all the various tribes among the indigenous peoples, as well as the migrants in Mindanao,” Tendero said.

He also lauded the GPH and MILF peace panels for clinching the normalization deal and that they wish for the success of the Bangsamoro.

“We pray that even now, those of us who truly seek genuine transformation towards the peace of the Moros, indigenous peoples, and migrants in Mindanao, would start praying for, and plan on supporting, Moro-led political parties that reflect the justice-oriented and reconciling peace for Mindanao and the whole Philippines,” he said.

Tendero said they envision the 2016 election for the Bangsamoro Government to pave the way for a new political leadership among Muslims in Mindanao.

Aside from the legislative, the PCEC also called on the leaders of the executive and judiciary branches of the government “to exemplify honor, transparency, justice, and compassion as we continue this negotiation and partnership until all aspects of the CAB have been fully implemented,” Tendero said. (MindaNews)