Women Leaders from Region 12, ARMMM vow to actively support the passage of new Bangsamoro bill

Fifty key women leaders from Region 12 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have committed to actively support the passage of the new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), said a report by Philippine News Agency (PNA) on April 28. 

During a two-day Women Peace Conversation held on April 27 at Seda Hotel, Davao City, women leaders representing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Indigenous People’s crafted an action plan in support to the passage of the new BBL aimed to draw support for the new law leading to its ratification. 

PNA quoted Irene Santiago, government peace panel implementing chair, saying that the drafting of the new BBL by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is almost complete. It is targeted for submission to President Rodrigo Duterte before the start of Ramadan in May. Once the new BBL is ratified and a successful plebiscite is held, Santiago sees a Bangsamoro government in place by 2022. 

The Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), through the GRP Implementing Panel, is already conducting consultations and peace tables to build a constituency that will support the peace process, while the BTC is still crafting a draft Bangsamoro bill. 

People’s support is needed in order for the new BBL to succeed and not suffer the same fate of the previous bill on questions of constitutionality, Santiago said. 

Santiago said the holding of the women peace table is a manifestation that the government realizes the crucial role that women play in the peace process, particularly in the normalization process. 

”The BBL is important to establish the Bangsamoro government,” Santiago said, adding that BBL "is tied to the normalization process." 

Santiago said the normalization process is more complicated and needs longer work because this involves how to bring the decommissioned MILF forces to live normal lives. 

She said the MNLF faction under Yusoph Jikiri and Misuari group, are also involved. The Jikiri group has three members in the BTC while OPAPP Undersecretary Nabil Tan is working with the group of MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari.