Dr Rahib L. Kudto
(During Public Presentation by the Third Party Monitoring Team on 26 February 2016)
As a Moro myself, I can understand the frustration of many Bangsamoro people felt after the non-passage of the BBL in Congress. For several decades, they experienced several wars that killed many of their friends and loved ones; and for the past 17 years of negotiations, they have waited patiently for the Parties to reach an agreement that would allow the Bangsamoro to exercise their right to self-determination. They had already been through so much disappointments when the ARMM failed to address their political aspirations, and when the MOA-AD was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
There are also these varying opinions about the condition of the BBL. Some say BBL has been dead on arrival, some say it died before arrival, and some believe that BBL is still alive and it’s the BLBAR that has been killed. But even if the BBL died in the hands of the 16th Congress, I am still optimistic as I believe that there is a day of resurrection. What’s important is for all of us not to give up and to remain steadfast in the pursuit of justice and peace.
What is good now is despite all the serious disappointments, the MILF statement shows that it continues to uphold the peace process, promising to sustain all established mechanisms while its armed forces maintain a defensive posture. There is also an on-going effort by the government and the MILF to inform people on the ground about recent developments and the continued strong commitment to peace by both Parties in order to manage expectations and address the frustrations of the people.
It is my hope, that whoever the next President will be, he or she will uphold the peace process and work towards attaining a just solution to the Bangsamoro question, giving priority to the collective and national interest over the vested interest of others.