A Statement from United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) Issued on 28 July 2018 in Cotabato City, Philippines
BBL Deserves our Much-Needed Critical Support and Political Awareness under the new Presidential Administration
We, the Bangsamoro youth, strongly believe that Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) remains the most viable option for the cessation of conflict in Mindanao as it addresses the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro and promotes national unity and reconciliation. BBL is a result of massive consultations and inclusive discourses among various sectors and stakeholders.
Understanding the historical cause of the conflict in Mindanao, and the roadmap for political transition to bring such conflict to its ultimate end, we believe that the BBL deserves critical support. The much-needed support denotes honoring the decades-long painstaking and genuine efforts to build the most comprehensive formula for viable peace in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. Skepticism that may lead to passage of a diluted BBL will reinforce the frustration of the Bangsamoro people and eventual loss of trust and confidence on the peace negotiations.
BBL is the key to rebuild social cohesion. Church leaders and constitutional experts pinned their faith on the BBL. The renowned Jesuit priest, Fr. Joel Tabora, himself urged that we pass BBL as an organic law for genuine political autonomy in Muslim Mindanao. Atty. Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, opined that the BBL does not claim excessive powers and that we should look at it in its core principle in addressing the marginalization and exclusion of the Bangsamoro people.
We therefore remain firm and committed in our position: PASS THE BBL IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM.
With this, we earnestly appeal to the following:
To President Rodrigo Roa Duterte:
You have categorically stated in your speeches that your administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements to address the injustices against the Bangsamoro. You also committed to restore faith and trust in the government. With your public pronouncements, we rely on your strong political leadership to urge popular support for the passage of the BTC-draft BBL. We are also hopeful that the roadmap for political transition for Bangsamoro autonomy, as stipulated in the CAB, will be accomplished during your term. We further depend on you that your plans for the shift to federal form of government will affirm but not affect the roadmap for Bangsamoro autonomy. Above all, we trust that your administration will save the gains of the peace process and continue the search for sustainable peace in Mindanao.
To the Bicameral Conference Committee for the BBL:
You have been entrusted to reflect the voices and the aspirations of the marginalized population in your legislative actions. We strongly ask you to listen to our endless stories of systematic discrimination, exclusion, and neglect. This way you will understand that every decision you make in the legislation process strongly affects our well-being and our chance for a sustainable future. We urge you to restore the BBL to its original form and pass it, then let the concerned constituents decide its fate through a plebiscite upon which we can meaningfully exercise our democratic right to make our choice whether or not to be included under the proposed Bangsamoro political autonomy. The choices of the people whom you represent should be considered and respected.
To the Filipino nation:
The fate of the BBL also lies in your trust. Your support benefits not only the Bangsamoro, but also the Filipinos all over the nation. Your solidarity towards our cause will greatly help in generating massive support to encourage policy reforms. Your understanding of our struggles contributes to the healing of the wounds of the past and in promoting reconciliation. Please help us advocate for the passage of BBL! Please help us urge our national policy makers to allow the roadmap for the political transition for Bangsamoro! This is our best chance for a genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao!
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