The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Wednesday urged anew Congress to approve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying the completion of the peace negotiations is crucial not only to the Philippines, but more so the global community.
In her message delivered by Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo at the Regional Consultative Meeting for Heads of Posts in Europe organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles said the Bangsamoro law will help curb the growing threat of religious extremism not only locally but even among international communities.
“[T]he success of the Bangsamoro peace process can help us arrest the spread of extremism around the globe by showing clearly that an Islamic movement can address its grievances and pursue its interests through a legitimate mode of democratic political engagement while still remaining within the country’s territorial integrity and constitutional framework, and without losing their culture and identity,” said Deles.
“[The completion of the peace negotiations] can show the global ummah that even Muslim minorities can thrive and contribute to development through the mutually-beneficial interaction of distinct cultures,” she added.
Deles said the international community supportive of the peace process awaits for the passage of the BBL, which is seen as a solution to the armed struggle in Mindanao.
The BBL is the legal framework of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It seeks to create a Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The peace adviser continues to be optimistic that the proposed BBL will be passed under President Benigno Aquino III’s term, which will end in June this year.
“Delays are, understandably, of great concern for communities on the ground. With every passing day of delay, they grow more anxious. With each new unmet deadline, they ask – will this mean a return to war? With firm hope and unwavering courage, we say: no, not under our watch,” Deles said.
“We cannot give up, because families cannot be torn by war yet again; because communities on the verge of recovery cannot revert to their broken state. We dare not and we will not give up, because hopes and lives and dreams hang in the balance,” she added.
Time is running out on lawmakers to have the BBL approved under the Aquino administration. Congress is set to resume its legislative session next week and will go on a long break starting February 6 for the campaign period.
In an interview last week, Aquino said he will hold another meeting with members of Congress to discuss the approval of the BBL. —NB, GMA News