Multi–stakeholders hold Forum on Participatory Governance in Bangsamoro 

Cotabato City- On March 29, 2016, the Democratic Party Development Bangsamoro DEPAdev., Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) held Multi-Stakeholders Forum on Participatory Governance in Bangsamoro at Notre Dame University, Cotabato City in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) funded by the European Union (EU).

Jun Jover, IAG Training Coordinator in his presentation of the program rationale said the activity helps increase the awareness of the Bangsamoro people in participatory governance in the proposed Bangsamoro Government.

Jover said that awareness raising activity will be implemented in the entire core territory of the Bangsamoro and will be participated by partner’s CSOs and NGOs run by the indigenous peoples (IPS), settlers and Muslims.

Dr. Socorro L. Reyes, an expert on governance lectured on the State of the Philippine Politics. She discussed why the Philippines still ranked 95 out of 185 most corrupt countries in the world. 

Reyes emphasized the causes why the Philippines remained poor of the poorest country despite the promises of the candidates during elections to undertake changes and reforms.

Unholy alliance, political dynasty, corruption and poor leadership were among the issues identified that push uprising by some groups to resist poverty and aim for transformation.

She also shared the results of her study on why the BBL became diluted and not passed. She said that Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Chair of Senate Committee on Local Government treated BBL as local ordinance. She also found out that the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident, the strong opposition by Congressman Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City and other anti-BBL lawmakers, the issue of independence and highly politicalized BBL due to the upcoming election caused the failure of BBL to pass.

The participants gave reactions and opinions in relation to the issues presented.

Yusoph S. Lumambas, a Secretary General of UNYPAD asked Reyes to comment regarding the findings of the surviving framers of the 1987 Constitution that that BBL is constitutional, while lawmakers said otherwise.

Lumambas said he doubts the lawmakers’ interpretation of the Philippine Constitution. He mentioned the saying, “If you want, there are many ways, if you don’t, there are many reasons”.

Kuraish Langkap of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) said,” It is very clear that Bangsamoro people have lost hope in addressing their grievances due to leaders’ lack of political will and misinterpretations of law by members of Philippine Congress. 

 Indigenous Peoples representatives who requested anonymity expressed their sentiments towards congress due to the unjust treatment of the Bangsamoro people.

MAPAD representatives Albana Alfonso urged congress to pass the original version of BBL that he describes as the solution to the Bangsamoro problem as well as other major problems besetting the country.

“The passage of the BBL in congress will prevent the rise of the radical groups”, he added.

Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, Executive Director of Institute of Bangsamoro Studies (IBS), lectured on Participatory Governance in Bangsamoro.

 He emphasized the opportunity of the Bansamoro Government to exercise participatory governance that stipulated the principles of the power sharing. He said that the Bangsamoro Government would be parliamentary in nature and ministerial form of government.

Linnga also said that the IPs have the freedom in designing their own system based on their belief and traditions, and also mentioned the allocation of reserved seats in the Bangsamoro Parliament for non-Muslims and other sectors.