IN PHOTO- Mr. Guiamel Alim, Chair of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (CBCSO)

Bangsamoro CSOS appeal to BICAM committee to restore deleted or amended BBL provisions

COTABATO CITY. July 4, 2018 - The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) represented by its Chairperson Guiamel Alim appealed to Bicameral Conference Committee members on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by sending a manifesto to their respective emails, offices, and through social media. 

The CBCS has a thousand member - organizations in its quest for sustainable peace and development in Mindanao particularly in the Bangsamoro core area. 

The manifesto was drafted during the CBCS sponsored Comparative study session on BBL attended by at least 50 CSO leaders on June 30, 2018, finalized on July, 2 and signed by Chairman Alim.      

The manifesto elaborated why there is a need for a strong autonomy for the Bangsamoro.       

The CSO's contend that, " Bangsamoro is an opportunity rather than a problem. It only takes one to understand where the Bangsamoro is coming from - their history, struggle and aspiration from a demand for a separate state from the Philippines after having been politically disenfranchised and economically marginalized in their homeland, the Bangsamoro now settles to live in a self - governing entity within the sovereignty of the Philippine state. "

" The grant of meaningful autonomy as envisaged by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in the proposed BBL is a tacit recognition of the Bangsamoro right to self - determination, an inherent right denied them for so long time. A self - governing entity is the right way to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro stemming from historical injustices, land dispossession, human rights violation - issues that served as the rallying point in the decades - old armed conflict. "      

They further argued that, " In the BBL drafted by BTC, safeguards are built in providing balance between ensuring on one hand that social justice is afforded the Bangsamoro and on the other hand, respecting the sovereign power of the state. This is indeed the right step towards addressing the roots of violent conflict in Mindanao. By recognizing the legitimate cause for self - determination through a meaningful autonomy, the Bangsamoro, a more of an opportunity and an ally of national development rather than a problem. This can eventually lead to the process of healing towards national unity and reconciliation, a state of affairs we all have wanted to see for so long. "     

It is to be recalled that during the 3rd reading of SB 1717, and Substituted HB 6475 by the Senate, and the House of Representatives (HoR), respectively there were " six major issues " deleted and amended in the two approved versions that the BBL becomes " more diluted " in effect the proposed Bangsamoro entity will become a " weak autonomous region" and lesser than the ARMM.       

On that premise, the group also appealed to the national government, the Executive and Legislative Departments to work out the passage of an acceptable BBL by : Restoring the list of powers as agreed in the CAB; Allowing meaningful autonomy and real self - governance with minimal intervention from national government; Doesn't take powers already granted to the ARMM but builds on these powers; Returning effective control over and benefits of the natural resources in the Bangsamoro territory to the Bangsamoro; and providing for a high level of fiscal autonomy with the block grant being released regularly and automatically to the Bangsamoro Government.