UBJP South Cotabato holds general meeting assembly and advocacy

In an effort to strengthen its organization, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) South Cotabato Chapter held its first General Assembly Meeting and Advocacy last Monday (April 18) at the gymnasium of Barangay Lamba, Banga, South Cotabato.

More than 800 officers and members of UBJP from South Cotabato joined the activity that was graced by UBJP Vice President for Southern Mindanao, Mohagher Iqbal, who is also the chairman of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel.

The activity provided the participants the latest updates on accomplishments of UBJP South Cotabato Chapter in the party’s advocacy and organizing efforts.

In his message, BTC Commissioner Ebrahim Ali who joined Iqbal, said the participation of the Bangsamoro people in politics through its political party UBJP is part of the struggle for self-determination.

If realized, he said, the Bangsamoro government should be different and should bring better governance for a peaceful and developed Bangsamoro region. He added it would be possible if there are efforts of Bangsamoro leaders and its people who are determined to initiate change.
Ali emphasized the UBJP has different concept for does not follow traditional politics that is anchored on money.

“Let us not veer away from the path of peace,” he urged the assembly participants citing the importance to support the Bangsamoro peace process.

Iqbal related briefly the history of Bangasamoro struggle and the marginalization of the Bangsamoro people due to migration of the Filipinos from Luzon and Visayas. He said the Bangsamoro people defended their freedom against Spanish colonization for more than 300 years.

The BTC Chair said more than half of the numbers of settlers arrived in Mindanao during the stint of President Ferdinand Marcos. He noted the massacres and the dispossession of the Moro people of its land during the height of martial law.

Iqbal said the peace process is moving forward despite the obstacles encountered.

“Mindanao has enough space for us,” he said pertaining to the Bangsamoro, Indigenous peoples and settlers.

He said that the people of Mindanao have suffered from the decades of conflict in Southern Philippines.

Iqbal said UBJP is not an ordinary political party but a group that “advocates social reform” for the Bangsamoro. “UBJP has more work to do between two elections,” he pointed out.

He urged the party officers and members to strengthen the organization focusing on the ideological aspect, leadership, resource mobilization, and alliance-building.

UBJP is a regional political party of the Bangsamoro people organized by the MILF in preparation to its engagement in democratic political exercises once the proposed autonomous Bangsamoro government will be established.

The MILF and Philippine government inked the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014 culminating their more than 17 years of peace negotiations.

The peace deal provides the crafting and passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that will pave way for the establishment of the Bangsamo government. However, the Philippine Congress failed to pass the BBL during its session last February.

The BTC is the institution created by the Aquino administration whose main task is to draft the BBL and recommend amendments of the constitution.