Peace Builders hold Forums in Zamboanga City

Responding to mixed emotions for the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the 16th Congress, the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) intensifies its efforts to appease peoples’ frustrations and anger by conducting peace forums in Zamboanga City that organizers dubbed it as “Frustration Management Program”.  On February 1, 2016, a forum was held in the village of Cawit, scene of the bloody Zamboanga siege by fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 2013.

Peace advocates, the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) and Moro Community leaders jointly held the program to enhance people’s understanding on the significant gains of the 17-year painstaking GPH-MILF Peace Process which paved the way for the signing of Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) on October 15. 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on March 27. 2014.

In his message, Tirso Tahir of the BLMI emphasized the significance of peace and harmonious coexistence between and among stakeholders and to understand Moro legitimate aspiration towards right to self-determination.

The BBL substitute bill  named Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) is just a piece of proposed legislation but does not ruin the entire political agreements signed by both parties and witnessed by the international community.

“We should not loss sight in our pursuit for lasting peace and development in our homeland for it is everybody’s concern,” Tahir stressed.

Another forum was also organized by peace advocates and Moro Fisher folks on February 2 at Barangay Baliwasan, Zamboanga City. 

Tahir talked on the significance of the Peace process and the issue of bungled BBL. He elucidated that even without BBL the GPH-MILF Peace process is considered a milestone because of the signed FAB and CAB that the government is bound to honor and implement. The international community that witnessed the signing of these agreements is patiently waiting for the final closure of armed-conflict in Mindanao.

“We should not give up to these formidable challenges and vexations thrown upon us”. This is really a test of faith and commitment to the greater interest of the Bangsamoro people in their legitimate assertion for Right to self-determination”, Tahir added. 

 During the open forum, participants had mixed feelings on non-passage of the agreed draft BBL but they agreed on one single dictum that the Philippine Government particularly the legislative branch with some exceptions displayed their biases and prejudices towards the Moros.

“Let the whole world makes judgment as to who are the oppressor and the oppressed. The Bangsamoro Right to Self- Determination (RSD)” is our undying battle cry”, one participant said.

The BLMI is not just a capacity building institution but also actively engaged in peace-building programs in tie-up with peace advocates and international funding agencies that are pushing for the peaceful settlement of the Bangsamoro Question.