Royal Houses in Mindanao express strong support to BBL

By on April 17, 2015


President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak witness MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Ghafar, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles affix their signature to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (March 27). Also in photo are MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim,Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles,MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal,GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar (Photo by Ryan Lim/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)
President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak witness MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Ghafar, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles affix their signature to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (March 27). Also in photo are MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim,Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles,MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal,GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar (Photo by Ryan Lim/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)

Davao City — The Royal Houses in Mindanao declared their strong support for “the early establishment of the Bangsamoro government, through the enactment into law of the GPH-MILF Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)”.

This declaration was made and manifested by the historic signing of Declaration of Support to the Bangsamoro by the Sultans from the different Sultanates in the entire Mindanao during the first ever Bangsamoro Royal House Solidarity Conference held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Lanang, Davao City last April 12, 2015.

With the theme: “Bangsamoro is 1 Towards Just and Dignified Peace”, the Royal Houses of Mindanao, which include the Sultanates of Maguindanao, Rajah Buayan, Kabuntalan, Sulu and Borneo, Lanao, Kaagan (Davao), and the Iranun gathered together with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to strengthen unity among their people and make a common stand to strongly support the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The Royal Houses see that the BBL will bring a brighter and better future for the Bangsamoro people as they believe that “the proposed BBL (that) will be enacted into law and implemented… will address political tyranny, economic torment, exploitation and other social problems.”

The members of Mindanao’s Royal Houses proclaimed their unified stand in the midst of the hostile debate in Congress regarding the proposed BBL, raising fears that the Bangsamoro — seen as a realization of the Moro people’s aspiration for self-determination — may be endangered.

“We are here today because we have responded to the call for unity among the Bangsamoro,” said His Royal Highness Sayyid Abdulaziz Salem Kudarat Mastura V, Prime Sultan of Maguindao Mandanaue Darussalam.

Recalling that “the historic sovereignty of the Bangsamoro was upheld and defended by the Moro Sultanates, especially the Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu and the Rajah Buayan,” Sultan Mastura emphasized their pivotal role to the Bangsamoro peace process.

During the conference, MILF Vice-Chairman Ghadzali Jaafar clarified the misconceptions going around that the BBL or the Bangsamoro peace process disrespects or disregards the Moro Sultanates for in fact, “it were the Sultans, the Datus, and the Rajahs who have fought and never surrendered against the Colonizers of this country,” he said.

When asked how the Sultanates could help in ensuring the passage of the BBL, Jaafar said, “First, I hope it would help. But whether or not it would help facilitate the passage of the BBL and whether the BBL would be passed or not, what’s important is, the Sultans have made their voices heard, that they have made a stand. And that this is for the unity and solidarity of the Bangsamoro people.”

The Solidarity Conference was thus seen as a breakthrough in focusing the common efforts of Moro Royal leaders for the brighter future of the Bangsamoro people.

Give peace a chance

“We oppose those who change the BBL so that instead of adding to or improving our current autonomy under the ARMM, it is instead being reduced,” said Sultan Mastura.

He said “the Bangsamoro Peace Agreement already adequately addresses the core demands of the Moro people for self-determination within a framework of full and meaningful autonomy.”

“It is therefore incumbent upon every Filipino to give this legislation a chance to build the bridge for peace,” said Bai-a-Labi sa Kabuntalan, Bai Umaima M. Lauban-Silongan.

According to her, “antagonizing the BBL is burning the bridge for peace.”

She also called on all detractors of the BBL to “think a thousand times before embarking on defeating this chance for peace by riding on the imperfections of the CAB and the BBL to fan war.”

The royalties from Lanao, the coastal areas, and even from the Kaagans in Davao have also joined to manifest their support to the passage of the BBL as they believe it embodies the “legitimacy of the Bangsamoro aspiration for self-rule.”

Sultan Dr. Ibrahim Bahjin, the Paramount Sultan of the Sultanate of Sulu and Borneo said that “actually, we are not yet tired of war but after having fought several wars already, did it solve the conflict? No.”

“This is perhaps the last chance for us to deliberate this matter in peaceful means. Let us support the BBL,” he said.