By: Abs Abdulmaguid
Feb. 10, 2015 – Speakers to the peace rally held at Pikit, North Cotabato have urged the Philippine legislature to enact immediately the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The rally was simultaneous with other areas in Mindanao and in Quezon City in support of the peace process between the GPH and MILF.
3 major groups in Mindanao such as the Bangsamoro, Lumads or IPs, and the settlers coming from the adjacent provinces joined the peace rally reaching the number of participants to 56,563.
In related news, there were 4,090 people attended in General Santos City rally, some 40,000 in Tacurong City and 60,000 in Cotabato City.
“I am saddened by the death of both government’s SAF and MILF’s BIAF,” Mr. Norhan Pedtamanan, from the youth sector, said. “But killing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is tantamount to killing the youths,” he continued.
A farmer representative appealed to Congress to hasten the enactment of the BBL emphasizing that it is the only where they can work in their farms.
Meanwhile, (North) Cotabato Board Member Dulia Sultan, representing the province, said that the Mamasapano incident has resulted to death of both government and MILF troops; hence, it should not be viewed one-sided. “Let us not be unjust, for history proves that the Moros were the first victims of war and injustices,” she said.
In joining with the call of the rallyists, Pikit Vice Mayor Mangansakan said that he had experienced all out wars under late President Ferdinand Marcos and President Joseph Estrada, and in the latter, he had spent 1.7 billion pesos. So, let us not quarrel, nor blame each other.
On the part of the professional sector, they underscored that the negotiation was 17 years to date. The Bangsamoro Basic Law is its fruit. The Mamasapano tragedy has no connection whatsoever to the proposed Basic Law, hence, it must be passed urgently. Bangsamoro Government shall be the initial step towards lasting peace.
In lengthy remarks by the women sector they expressed that the short-while peace that they experienced had brought them a very tangible progress in North Cotabato, how much more if it will be lasting peace. “We are also saddened by the death of 44 SAF because we are mothers, sisters and wives who could imagine their situations. Let us not listen to the call for all-out war by Erap. Let us push forward which the only solution to the Mindanao conflict is the “Bangsamoro Basic Law”.
They further said, not all out war, not impeachment of President Aquino but passage of the BBL is the solution to the crisis. They appealed to Senators Cayetano and Marcos to reconsider their decisions.
Bai Magdalena Suha of the Matigsalog tribe of the IPs or Lumads commented that the Mamasapano incident was not a massacre because the SAFs were not killed in their respective homes but they were killed in the homes of defenders.
She called on everyone to set aside censures and instead, let us work together for the early passage of the BBL.
The religious group represented by Ustadz Abdulgani Tumalao scoured on every one’s heart to have perseverance and discipline, as our search for lasting peace is like a gold where no hot sun can prevent us, he lamented.
Dr. Abdulmanan Gayak, the president of the Mindanao Alliance for Peace (MAP), facilitated the activity.