“Bakwet sa Syudad” completes its Manila Peace Lobby Mission in Congress

COTABATOCity – The three-day Manila Peace Lobby Mission dubbed as "Bakwet sa Syudad" was completed on Thursday (October 12) hoping that members of Philippine Congress will listen to the voice of the peace advocates to fast track the passage of the House Bill No. 6475 version of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) crafted by the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), the Mission lead convener said that the activity was a “response to the series of consolidation meetings of peace networks to elevate civilian engagement to the policy arena on the imperatives of the peace process and the urgency of the humanitarian appeal.” 

It added that the “immediate results of the peace mission are to generate strategic policy support and action towards invigorating the Bangsamoro legislative agenda in Congress and addressing its attendant humanitarian call.”

There are more than 30 CSO leaders coming from Mindanao and in Manila who composed the lobby mission with the participation of Moros, Christians and Indigenous People. 

Jehan Usop of the Moro Women Development and Cultural Center (MWDECC) said that they have already talked to Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, Rep. Ruby Sahali, Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. chairman of Local Government Committee, Rep. Mauyag “Jun” Papandayan Jr. chairman of the Muslim Affairs Committee, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines Pantaleon Alvarez, Jr.

The BBL she said is now in the hands of the representatives and in the committee level. “Pina-aaralan na nila ngayon ang BBL,” Jehan said in Filipino.

The good thing in the BBL according to Ms. Usop is that even though Congress will have their recess from 14th October to 12th November, they will still work on it. 

“Umuusad ang BBL ngayon kahit na may recess ang Congress tuloy parin ang trabaho ng committee nila Congresswoman Bai Sanadra Sema,” Jehan disclosed during the intimate talk of the lobby team with the representatives.

Jehan also said that House Speaker Alvares will author the BBL.

When ask if the Congress can pass the BBL this year, the lobby team remain optimistic. 

The lobby team on Thursday met the leadership of Presidential Advisers on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and visited the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Among of the agenda brought by the lobbyist during the peace mission are the plight of the Meranaws who has been displaced for almost 5 months since the conflict erupted between government troops and Maute group in Marawi on May 23.