CSO leaders hold dialogue with BTC Chair on Bangsamoro unity and solidarity 

Around 44 Civil Society Organization (CSO) leaders from Mindanao and the island provinces held a dialogue with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chair to discuss Bangsamoro unity and solidarity geared towards achieving the Bangsamoro people’s Right to Self-Determination (RSD).

The CSO leaders’ dialogue with BTC Chair Mohagher Iqbal on March 23, 2016 at Cotabato City was facilitated by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS).

CBCS has been undertaking initiatives like peace advocacy and intra-dialogue among the Bangsamoro leaders and sectors in line with its pursuit for peaceful resolve to Bangsamoro question.

Chairman Iqbal said the Muslims in the country are united by two things “by being Bangsamoro as a nation and being Muslims.” 

He said if the Bangsamoro people may not agree to each other “it would be good if we won’t fight each other.”

The BTC Chair cited the importance of the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum, a mechanism that consolidates the efforts of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) towards achieving the Bangsamoro people’s aspiration for just political solution and lasting peace and inclusive development.

He said uniting the MNLF and MILF into a single organization is difficult but the two Fronts can work together through the BCF for the higher interest of the Bangsamoro people.

On the issue of the non-passage of the BBL, the BTC Chair said they were not discouraged but rather “it strengthens us to be united.”

After the non-passage of the BBL, Iqbal said the MILF may opt to go to war or continue pursuing the path of peace. 

“The decision of the MILF is to continue the peace process,” he related and pointed out that “The MILF will not decide base on emotion.”

The BTC Chair is hopeful that the next administration will prioritize the passage of the measure.

While waiting for the BBL to be enacted, he cited the need for the Bangsamoro people to strengthen itself in preparation for peace.

“BBL may be re-filed or another BBL will be crafted on the basis of FAB (Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro) and CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro CAB),” he explained.

“I don’t think the next president can ignore it,” Chairman Iqbal said. 

Signed on March 27, 2014, the CAB is a peace truce between the government and the MILF that aims to put an end to Mindanao conflict and usher development in the region. 

CAB provides the enactment of the BBL by the Philippine Congress to pave way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro autonomous government with more political and fiscal powers.

However, sessions of both Senate and House of Representatives on early February ended without passing the BBL which drew widespread frustration among the Bangsamoro people.

Chairman Iqbal stressed the need to strengthen the Bangsamoro people

said the Bangsamoro people can delve on the Bangsamoro