Photo courtesy of Ateneo de Davao University

Ateneo Presidents call for the passage of BTC version Bangsamoro Basic Law

The Presidents of Ateneo in the country join the call for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as drafted by the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC).

“This version hews closest to the genuine aspirations of Filipino Muslims and other marginalized sectors in Mindanao for lasting peace based on justice, economic growth, and social equity,” the official statement, signed early this May, reads.

The BBL is the legal instrument that will usher the establishment of an autonomous Bangsamoro political entity with more political and fiscal powers that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“The law’s passage would provide a real and meaningful foundation for countering violent extremism and addressing the many other conflicts in Mindanao. We implore our legislators not to delay such passage any further,” the statement continued.

“We again express moral approval of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, and the Expanded BTC version of the Enhanced BBL,” the statement reads.

The Ateneo Presidents believe that although the journey to peace and justice remains long and difficult, yet there is light of hope at the end.

They reiterated their joint statement on the BBL in 2015 when it was first brought to the Philippine Senate which says, ““The establishment of a Muslim region in Mindanao that is truly autonomous is mandated by the Constitution as a social justice imperative. Let this social justice no longer be postponed.”

Signatories of the statement were Fr. Karel S. San Juan, S.J., President, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J. President, Ateneo de Davao University, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, S.J., President, Ateneo de Manila University, Fr. Roberto Exequiel N. Rivera, S.J., President, Ateneo de Naga University and Fr. Roberto C. Yap, S.J. (President, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.

The passage of Bangsamoro law is stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a peace deal signed by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014 after more than 17 years of peace negotiation to find viable formula to end the decades of conflict in Southern Philippines.

The MILF leadership is hopeful that the BBL, now being subjected to interpellation of the lawmakers of the Philippine Congress, will not be watered down for it was crafted attuned to the culture, tradition and religious sensitivity of the Bangsamoro people. 

Lobbyist groups comprised of representatives from different Moro organizations are currently in Metro Manila to attend the sessions of the Senate and the House of Representatives to persuade lawmakers for the swift passage of the measure.