Hope fills Maguindanao streets before peace deal signing

by Albashir Saiden, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Mar 25 2014 06:58 PM | Updated as of Mar 26 2014 02:58 AM

MAGUINDANAO - Two days before the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) in Malacanang on Thursday, streets, houses, and schools in many parts of Maguindanao are filled with green "pandala" (flags) and streamers.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) First Vice-Chairman Ghazali Jaafar said green is the color of Islam and symbolizes peace and struggle of the Bangsamoro people.

Among the towns in Maguindanao that welcome the Bangsamoro peace agreement between the government and the MILF are Shariff Aguak, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan sa Barongis, Mamasapano, Rajah Buayan, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, and Datu Saudi.

Sultan Kudarat Mayor Datu Shameem Mastura asked his constituents to support the signing of the CAB even in their smallest ways.

"Natutuwa tayo at magkakapirmahan na ang MILF at gubyerno, importante ito sa lahat ng mga Bangsamoro lalo na dito sa Sultan Kudarat dahil dito sa bayan namin nakatayo ang Camp Darapanan," Mastura said.

Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and civil society groups continue to hold public consultations in Central Mindanao on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, days before the signing of the CAB.

MILF peace panel member Antonio Kinoc said indigenous peoples rights, including their ancestral domain, were considered in the agreement.

Kinoc said the indigenous peoples have a reserved seat in the future Bangsamoro assembly.

"The rights of the IPs are protected. Ang Bangsamoro government ay inclusive, hindi lang ito para sa mga Muslim. Para ito sa lahat, Kristiyano man o lumad," Kinoc said.

Kinoc said the CAB is a requirement in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.