MANILA — A group of Mindanao and national civil society organizations (CSOs) are pushing for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as part of a long-term solution to the Mindanao question.
At a press conference held at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, various organizations called on the country to “stay the course for peace: padayon alang sa kalinaw.”
“We postpone any conclusions and call for sobriety from all parties, especially the media and general public, as we await the findings of an independent inquiry commission,” said the statement by the Friends of the Bangsamoro delivered by Gus Miclat. “As civil society, we will call for a multi-stakeholder dialogue on this hopefully momentary crisis.”
The group expressed their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the clash. The statement also commended efforts by various groups that moved to immediately deescalate the situation on the ground, citing the immediate response from the ceasefire mechanisms of the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), namely, the International Monitoring Team, Ad Hoc Joint Action Group, and Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities.
“The BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) is not the problem,” said Miclat. “It may not be the entire solution, but this peace instrument—diligently crafted for for almost decades by both government and the MILF—could help end the cause and costs of armed conflict in Mindanao.”
Friends of the Bangsamoro is composed of the following groups: Generation Peace Network, Initiatives for International Dialogue, Mindanao Solidarity Network, Mindanao Peaceweavers, Partido ng Manggagawa, Partido Lakas ng Masa, Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc., Waging Peace Philippines, Women Engaged in Action on UNSCR 1325,Women’s Peace Table, and Young Moro Professionals Network.
An appeal to lawmakers
Other groups, including those representing the youth and women, came to voice their support of the call for sobriety. They expressed concern over announcements by some legislators for withdrawing their support for the BBL.
Yolly Esguerra of Philippine Misereor Partnership said that amid the call for war, “we call on everyone not to give up on peace.”
Nikki Delfin delivered the joint statement of Generation Peace youth Network and the Young Moro Professionals Network. “All-out war is not the solution,” he said. “Civilians—youth, men, women, and children—bear the brunt of the decades of armed conflict in Mindanao.”
Mirma Mae Tica said “members of the Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (WE Act 1325) grieve with the mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and other kin of the slain.”
“We appeal to our politicians and all peace-loving Filipinos not to hold hostage the [Government of the Philippines-Moro Islamic Liberation Front] peace process. Let us all stay the course and see through the adoption of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” she said.
Among the CSOs present that expressed their support of the peace process were Aksyon Para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan, Balay Rehabilitation Center, World Without War, and International Alert.