Christian Leaders converge in support to Bangsamoro Peace Process

Cotabato City – The Social Action Center conducted a Convergence of Christian Leaders for Peace on July 12-13, 2018 at the Social Action Center Conference Hall, Archbishop Mongeau Center (AMC), Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City.

The activity was participated mainly by leaders of different Christian groups. Representatives from the Regional Government of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Local Government Unit (LGU) of Upi, Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

UNDP representative Winston Alymer Camarinas emphasized the importance of providing a platform to engage the minority Christian community in the new political entity. He also expressed the commitment of UNDP in providing support to ensure a better Bangsamoro for the Bangsamoros, Christians, and Indigenous Peoples living in the area. 

Father Clifford Baira, Director of Social Action Center stretched the importance of discussion about the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) involving representatives of different Christian groups, Christian communities, media, political leaders, and Muslim communities to  provide accurate information and prevent speculations among the people. He also added that they are looking forward to conducting more discussions on different areas in Mindanao.

MILF Peace Implementing Panel member Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga provided updates on the GPH-MILF Peace Process to the participants. In his discussions, he presented the history of the Bangsamoro struggle and peace process between the government of the Philippines and the two revolutionary groups, the MNLF and the MILF.

Furthermore, Lingga underscored the importance of passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Congress. The BBL is the enabling law of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). 

Executive Secretary Atty. Laisa Masuhod-Alamia of the ARMM expressed the full support of the ARMM Regional Government to a BBL that is compliant to the CAB. 

Alamia also added that the ARMM government will participate in the transition process. The passage of the BBL will create a new political entity, the Bangsamoro and will abolish the ARMM. 

Some participants expressed their worries regarding their freedom of religion under the Bangsamoro government. The resource persons assured that the BBL ensured the protection of rights of minorities in the area and guaranteed freedom of religion. Furthermore, the proposed Bangsamoro parliamentary also include reserve seats not just for Christians, but also to Indigenous Peoples in the region.