MANILA — Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer Monday asked Congress to enshrine and protect the people’s aspirations for peace and justice as envisioned in the 1987 Philippine Constitution when it considers changes to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The chief negotiator referred to the statement of the framers of the Philippine Constitution which states that “the decision on the Bangsamoro will ultimately rest on what the people want of our country. And what the deliberations and the overwhelming vote in the plebiscite for the Constitution tell us is that they dream of a free people in a democratic society where peace and justice reign.”
According to the statement of the Constitutional framers, “the core principle of the 1987 Constitution in mandating a special status for the autonomous regions is human development.”
“Definitely, it is the aim of the BBL to fulfill this intent. To address the human development of the Bangsamoro people, which will in turn redound to shared prosperity and shared security for the entire country,” Coronel-Ferrer said.
“In this regard, we look up to our legislators for wisdom and guidance, in crafting a good legislation for the Bangsamoro peoples,” she said.
An effective way to give members of the House of Representatives and the Senate a deeper understanding of the principles that lie behind the proposed Bangsamoro law is “if our legislators see the BBL within the context of the Bangsamoro’s historical and legitimate aspirations.”
“The creation of the Bangsamoro will also realize the mandate of the Constitution for social justice for our brothers and sisters who have historically been marginalized politically, culturally and socially,” Coronel-Ferrer said.
“It is in this regard that we will welcome the enhancement of the BBL without diminishing its substance or purpose as set out in the CAB,” the chief negotiator added, referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front on March 27, 2014.
The chief negotiator also noted that the establishment of the new Bangsamoro government shall be accompanied by the decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants.
“This is a victory for the Filipino people,” Coronel Ferrer said referring to the willingness of the MILF to turn in their arsenal of weapons to the decommissioning body and participate in the social and political processes of the country.
Just recently, Cagayan de Oro second district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL, said that the new target date of the House of Representatives for the passage of the law is June 11.