Cotabato City – Some 700 participants have expressed support to the establishment of the Bangsamoro government during the massive information drive on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) conducted jointly by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and Kalilintad Development Foundation, Inc. (KDFI) held in barangay Gaunan, Mlang, Cotabato on April 7.
The program aims to give information on the establishment of the Bangsamoro government. The Bangsamoro is intended for all, not for the Moros alone, according to Junaida Agao who gave the overview of the activity.
One of the guests, Mlang Mayor Joselito Piňol, had said “the BBL may not be perfect, but we’ll fix it. What is important is we will give a chance to those people who have potential in achieving peace. Peace will not be given in a silver platter. If we can find peace long, still we go on. If there is a problem in the BBL we will talk it.”
He said he is not a leader of Ilonggos (of Mlang) only but of the Muslims also of entire Mlang. Whatever system we have, if the leader is not for the people, it’s useless. “I fully support the effort of the MILF to have a good relationship (of Muslims and Christians). Don’t leave us (ilonggos) should the Bangsamoro is established. Let’s live together”, he added.
He expressed gratitude to the elders of the Moros that his ancestors were accepted by them during those early times in Mlang, for without it he may not be the mayor now, Piňol
Mayor Piňol is the younger brother of former north Cotabato Governor Manny Piňol who was one of the prominent butchers of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), a truce shortly before the BBL.
Also, Vice Mayor of the said town Atty. Abonado delivered a message of support for the peace process by the MILF and the GPH.
One member of the Sangguning Bayan of Mlang, Atty. Benito, said, “Whatever you (people of Mlang) want, I support your decision because in Mlang whether there is BBL or not we are united.” He further urged everybody to be open-minded. “There is no unconstitutional issue if we are open-minded. We are the ones feeding the people of Luzon. And they think that when Bangsamoro is established we are separate, hence, no one will feed them.” He continued.
On her part, Ms. Sarah Alamada, DILG, LGOO of Mlang said that her office is very supportive of the BBL. She emphasised the necessity of the registration to the COMELEC, hence, she urged the participants to register so that they can help in decision-making thru ballots.
For Noah Zabel, Barangay Chairman of Dugong, Mlang, said that the people of Mlang are very supportive of the peace process (the BBL). No need to ask them whether they want it or not.
Meanwhile, one of the resource persons, Jabib Jabar, from the Local Monitoring Team (LMT) in Cotabato province, spoke about the overview and status of the BBL.
According to Jabar, the BBL is not an agreement of the senators and the MILF but it’s between the government of the republic of the Philippines and the MILF and witnessed by international communities. He was referring to the outward arrogance of the anti-BBL senators during the hearing on the Mamasapano encounter.
In the past, Muslims and Christians are in quarrel every time they met. But now we have a good relationship already so we must not destroy it. Be calm; wait because the BBL is on deliberation in Congress.
The senate report which says, among others, that the Mamasapano incident was a massacre is erroneous. The SAF members who intruded the place were all in full battle gears. Hence, if it’s a massacre, it means the MILF are more equipped than the SAF?, Jabar asked.
On his part, Shiek Moidjoddin Talusob, KDFI Executive Director, said the BBL is the supreme sacrifice of the Bangsamoro. The bangsamoro people have its own government and an independent nation before and during the Spanish colonization.
One of the organizers of the program, Prof. Esmael Abdullah had discussed some salient points of the bbl; the structures and operations of the Bangsamoro. He had tackled the FAB and its 4 annexes and the Bangsamoro waters, as well.
He said that President Aquino was right when he said that the solution to the Mindanao problem is the realization of the BBL.
“The BBL is now in Congress for deliberation. It is not yet watered down; hopefully an agreed version will come out, Abdullah stated.
Atty. Dilangalen explained the historical background of the BBL, the connotations of the word Bangsamoro as used in the GPH-MILF peace deal, and the would-be territories of the Bangsamoro.
The participants were mostly coming from the barangays of Dungguan, Gaunan, and Dugong, the three barangays which are mostly inhabited by Muslims out of the 37 brangays of Mlang. Some officials from barangays of New Antique, New Consolacion, Lepaga, Inas and Bagontapay have also attended the activity. The Mlang PNP chief was also present.
Nasser Pulindao, an anchor of the “BTC on the air” program in DXMS, McKinley and Mads Agao from the MILF committee on information also gave inputs on the features and status of the BBL
Abdullah Pananggulon, the barangay chairman of Gaunan, Mlang, expressed gratitude to the organizers of the program that they were given a chance to know and clarify things about the peace process, especially the about the Bangsamoro government.