KPI, BARD Hold Peace Forum

COTABATO CITY – Kalilintad Peacebuilding Institute (KPI) and Bangsamoro Association of Rural Development (BARD) held last September 25 a one-day peace forum with the theme “Understanding of Bangsamoro Peace Process and Prospects of Federalism” at Nahdah Central Academy.

Several personalities served as resource persons, including MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal who reminded the participants that the main agenda of the peace process is ‘How to Solve the Bangsamoro Problem.’

“Peace process is one of the diplomatic means of achieving the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination. International community recognizes the MILF as Non-State Arm Actor that represents the Bangsamoro people, ” Iqbal said.

“We want the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to be first passed into law before the federalization of the Philippines. However, the MILF welcomes any idea that enhances the draft law,” he emphasized.

“Federalizing the Philippines is good for Bangsamoro when the BBL is to be first passed into law, but when the federal system would be first passed before the passage of the BBL, then it would be a big challenge to the Bangsamoro people,” articulated Iqbal.

“If the BBL would not pass in the Congress, the MILF Peace Implementing Panel would refer the final decision to the MILF Central Committee to find any other means of seeking right to self-determination,” he added.

Other speakers included Shiekh Mohammad Ali Badrodin, the Director of Nahdah Central Academy;

Shiekh Abdulkahar Yusop, Dr. Esmael S.  Abas of the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST), Ustadz Lucman Sultan and Professor Esmael A. Abdula, Executive Director of Kalilintad Peacebuilding Institute Inc. and BLMI Steering Committee Member.

Abdula explained that the rationale of the forum can be traced back to the youth’s efforts in seeking for justice in the Bangsamoro Homeland. “Youth who studied in different universities and state colleges in the Philippines became peace advocates conducting advocacies on peace and human rights. Until now, youth efforts are sustained in seeking Bangsamoro right to self-determination.” 

Participant who gave messages of supports were Dr. Sidon S. Dedumo (in behalf of Dr. Nasrodin M.  Ibrahim, the President 2nd Batch of BARD); Dr. Daud K. Lagasi, President of BARD 1st Batch; and Professor Nasser Bagundang, Faculty Member of Notre Dame University.

Dir. Esmael S. Satol, President of BARD 3RD Batch, on his closing message said “Participating in the peace forum is very important, because it gives an opportunity to share their ideas, opinions, perspectives and beliefs on the current peace process between the MILF and the Government of the Philippines and it so relevant in our courses of rural development.”

Staff of Bangsamoro Association of Rural Development, doctorate students of Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology, faculty and staff of Nahdah Central Academy, Datu Ibrahim Paglas Memorial College, Eastern Kutawato Islamic Institute of Buluan, Maguindanao, religious sectors, other academic institutions and non-government organizations participated in the peace forum.