What Mindanaoans want from Bangsamoro entity

by Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News Davao

Posted at Mar 24 2014 07:33 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2014 03:33 AM

Quality education, peace and security, and livelihood often raised during consultations

DAVAO CITY - Members of the Mindanao Civil Society Organization Platform for Peace (MCSOPP) have gathered in Davao City to finalize their recommendations to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) after a series of public consultations in areas under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Salic Ibrahim, co-chair of Mindanao People's Caucus, said the BTC partnered with civil society groups to urge residents to take part in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"Tinitingnan namin at pinapag-usapan kung ano pa yung dapat gawin at mai-contribute doon sa Bangsamoro Transition Commission," Ibrahim said.

He said the MCSOPP, which is composed of different civil society groups in the region, welcomes the historic signing of the government's peace agreement with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday.

Guiamel Alim of the MCSOPP said, during public consultations, communities ask for quality education, peace and security, and livelihood.

Alim said consultations were also conducted outside the ARMM, especially in towns that might be included in the Bangsamoro entity.

"Isang milestone ito sa peace process. Masaya kami, pero mayroon pang maraming trabahuhin," Alim said.

MCSOPP officials believe that there are no major obstacles that could hamper the peace process.

Participants from different areas in the ARMM who attended the secretariat meeting also shared issues and concerns before the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law draft.

Octavio Dinampo, a provincial consultant of a Sulu-based group, said some people in Sulu questioned the need to conduct a plebiscite in the ARMM.

"If ever there is a plebiscite, then this would only be applied to new municipalities or barangay which will join the Bangsamoro entity," Dinampo said.

He said Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani have signified their intentions to be included to the Bangsamoro entity.

Dinampo said Bangsamoro will be a legacy for the next generation.

"We are given a second chance to make it right this time because the last time was so bad that the people themselves are not properly involved. But this time, everybody wanted that nobody should be left behind anymore," he added.

Professor Sahi Ludjah from a Zamboanga-based group said he is positive and expects "great developments" in the region under the Bangsamoro entity.

On the other hand, Allan Besingan of the Basilan-based Bantay Ceasefire, said the Bangsamoro Basic Law should solve problems regarding political dynasties, election irregularities, as well as illegal fishing.

Besingan said it will have a huge impact, especially for those who are in conflict-ridden zones.

Almorzi Tabarasa from Tawi-tawi said they have been part of the struggle for peace.

The BTC has set March 31, 2014 as the deadline for recommendations from civil society groups and non-government organizations.

The BTC will draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will be forwarded to the Office of the President.

It will be submitted to the Congress and certified by the President as urgent.