MANILA — Members of the international community reiterated their continued support for the Bangsamoro peace process as the nation commemorated on Friday the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the product of 17 years of negotiation between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
They said the alternative to the peace deal is conflict in Mindanao, and forging lasting peace in the South required putting up an infrastructure that would implement the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will be the enabling law that would implement the CAB, is currently under deliberation in both chambers of Congress.
“On the 1st anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Canada continues to encourage efforts to achieve peace and we remain committed to supporting the Bangsamoro peace process,” a statement from the Canadian Embassy stated.
“We remain supportive of the passage of a Bangsamoro Law,” the statement added. “We recognize the diligent efforts of all sides to bring about an era of opportunities for the people of Mindanao.”
“Twelve months ago today I witnessed the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in the Malacañan Palace. This was a moving occasion that united the people of the Philippines in the quest for peace,” related British Ambassador Asif Ahmad in a statement released by the British Embassy in Manila.
“The international community was present to show its fulsome support,” he recounted. “Now more than ever, there should be a resolute approach to keep up the momentum and end the history of violence and conflict that blighted the lives of so many.”
“The real issue for debate is how to secure a peaceful and prosperous future for the Philippines of which Bangsamoro is an integral part,” he emphasized.
Other countries have also earlier expressed strong support for the peace process and the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the aftermath of the tragedy in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January. The Embassy of Japan through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) program recently signed a new grant contract funding development projects worth USF 645,879 or PHP 27,127,041.85, which Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa emphasized are set “to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the communities” in Mindanao.
Earlier this month, Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Førner also reiterated Norway’s commitment to the peace process. Norway has for several years been part of the International Monitoring Team which supervises the ceasefire in Mindanao, and is also the third-party facilitator between the government and the communist movement.
“Norway remains fully committed to support the efforts and keep the path of peace in the Philippines on track,” Ambassador Førner said.
“Lasting peace is fundamental in bringing development and stability in Mindanao, for the benefit of the entire population of the Philippines. The alternative to peace is continued to conflict. Armed conflict not only takes lives; it also creates and intensifies poverty,” he added.