Kabacan, North Cotabato — Despite the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Philippine Congress, the officers of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) underwent training on political party development held at Pinnacle Hotel, Davao City on March 10-11, 2016.
UBJP is the regional political party formed by the MILF as a way of shifting from armed struggle to democratic endeavour in advancing the Bangsamoro cause.
Accordingly, the training symbolized good faith on the part of the revolutionary group in contrast to the efforts exercised by the Congress of the Philippines in their recent deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The Lower House failed to pass the BBL which is the sole obligation of the government as stated in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the two parties in March 2014.
This training was part of a project of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) with the financial support from the European Union.
It was implemented in coordination with the UBJP under its Secretary-General Sammy Al-Mansoor. Atty. Najib Sinarimbo and Dr. Parido Pigkaulan, both key officials of the UBJP, played an important role in the facilitating the training.
Atty. Benedicto Bacani, AIG executive director, took the lead in the activity. KAS was represented by Benedikt Seemann.
The training resource persons were A Bacani, Seemann, UBJP Sec-Gen Sammy Al-Mansoor, Hendrik Mollenhauer – Project Manager of the Democratic Party Development (DEPAdev), Ustadz Abdulkadir Abdullah of the Bangsamoro Development Agency, prominent political analyst Ramon Casiple, Narciso Jover, Jr.- DEPAdev Training Expert, Dr. Parido Pigkaulan of the UBJP and two other political analysts Malou Tiquia and April de la Cruz.
Seemann, a German national said he was very happy to be in the occasion. He pointed out that the training gave him an opportunity to have dialogue with the participants to discuss the future of the Bangsamoro. He urged the participants to strive to make a difference at the end.
Atty. Bacani said the gathering was very important as it provides solution to the absence of real political party in the country. “It pushes reforms to our existing political party system in accordance with our culture and history,” he added.
“It transforms the path toward achieving aspiration from battlefield to democratic track. Hence, we must do more travail on this level of struggle,” Bacani said.
Sec-Gen Al-Mansoor echoed his feeling as a key official of the MILF. He further said, “The pending-passage of the BBL is still benignant to us. This is on the ground that we did not have training on political party before but now we are undergoing trainings.”
“This means, we might not make it in the approaching election had the BBL been passed but now we have great hope in the later elections,” he added.
Other speakers delved on the status of political parties in the Philippines, platforms making, political party management, resourcefulness, problems, challenges, recruitment, discipline, democracy, party building, party role in parliamentary system, and other issues.
The participants were composed of the officials, staffs and selected members of the UJBP of North Cotabato. Among them were Nasser Mustafa, North Cotabato Board Member Mohammad”Kely” Antao, Atty. Zacalia Akmad, Allan Pigkaulan, Duma Mascud, and thirty five others.