By Datuan M. Magon
PAGALUNGAN, Maguindanao (May 2, 2014) – The Women Affairs Committee (WAC) of the Pagalungan municipal chapter of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) chaired by Naima M. Kudto facilitated a gathering of 2,269 women in an activity dubbed as ‘1st Women General Assembly’ with a theme: “Women Empowerment Towards the Establishment of Bangsamoro” organized by the women sector of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) political committee in Pagalungan, Maguindanao held at the municipal covered court of Pagalungan municipality on April 27, 2014.
“This assembly aims to consolidate our members’ support on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and, at the same time, inform them of important tasks they could play in preparation for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL),” said Maimona Labas, municipal Chair of Pagalungan women sector.
Among the guests invited were: municipal mayor of Pagalungan town Hon. Datu Salik Mamasabulod, UNYPAD national president Ustadz Rahib L. Kudto and Ligawasan Provincial women committee headed by Ustadza Rohamina L. Maguid.
Hon. Mamasabulod thanked organizers for inviting them and holding the activity in his municipality.
He then urged everyone for unity and solidarity in preparation for the Bangsamoro.
“We’re in the critical situation in preparation for the Bangsamoro because it’s getting closer to the final stage. We have to be united, we should have common understanding and constant dialogue must be built between Local Government Units (LGU) and MILF because we are one and we are all Bangsamoro”, he stressed.
President Rahib identified colonization as the triggering factor behind the assertion of the Bangsamoro Right to Self-Determination (RSD).
“Success of the talks is attributed to the gentlemen’s agreement made by both parties (GPH-MILF) before starting the talks in 1997 in which MILF cannot insist independence in the negotiating table as agenda (but not necessarily abandoning it) while GPH cannot bring issue of constitution as parameter of the talks,” he recalled.
After explaining CAB contents, he urged participants to be active in their respective committees.
“I urge you to do your individual tasks in your respective committees, and please do not over expect because we are not yet finished; It is just a beginning of a long journey towards establishing a government for our people”, he appealed.
Ustadza Rohamina, Ligawasan Chairwoman, explained tasks and functions of the women’s committee.
“Women’s concern in the province, linkages to existing Peoples Organization and Non Government Organizations that promote women empowerment, and mobilization of women to support political committees are tasks,” she said.
“Your monthly fees, mobilizations and campaign in preparation for the Bangsamoro are indications that you are empowered”, she stressed.
As part of its major program, UNYPAD has been very active in giving information about the development of the peace process to different communities regardless of cultural and religious affiliations.
Through the years, the organization has been maintaining its neutral stance on the flow of the negotiations but it has been remaining critical in safeguarding its results and remaining vigilant in protecting the gains of the peace process against spoilers.