Students lined up along national high way; thousands more marched on the streets to show support for BBL passage

Thousands show overwhelming support to BBL Passage; Praise Sen. Zubiri

COTABATO CITY (January 26, 2018) – A show of mass support for the passage of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC)- crafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was held simultaneously during to the 3rd Joint Public Hearing on BBL in Cotabato City on January 25, 2018.

A delegation of lawmakers from the House of Senate led by Juan Miguel Zubiri, Chair of the Senate Sub-Committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law came to Cotabato City to conduct public hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Law.

Migz Zubiri as he is popularly known was accompanied by Senators Sonny Angara, Risa Hontiveros, JV Ejercito in his coming to the city to hold consultation among stakeholders in the region.

Zubiri who withdrew his version of Bangsamoro Law bill, instead filed, and sponsored Senate Bill 1646, the BBL version of BTC in the Senate.

A crowd of more than Ten Thousand individuals-students, men, and women from Cotabato City, and nearby towns converged along national highway from Awang Airport all the way to Camp Darapanan in the town of Sultan Kudarat. 

Hadji Murshed Mascud, Chairman of Sustainable Initiatives of Grassroots and Networks for Bangsamoro Basic Law (SIGNBBL) said that Bangsamoro CSOs, who in one or the other helped mobilized thousands of people were all elated with the good gesture shown by Senator Migz Zubiri when he withdrew his own version of the BBL, and described it as a show of concern for peace and development in Mindanao.

As early as 7 a.m. participants with placards, and tarps started walking from their points of origin, and lined-up along the national highway at Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat; Sinsuat Ave; Quezon Avenue, or Parang Road, Quirino Bridge in Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat up to Camp Darapanan.

Printed on their placards were; ‘Salamat sa pag file ng BBL BTC – Version Sen. Migz’, ‘Senate; Please Pass the BBL BTC-Version (SB 1646)!’, ‘We strongly support the BBL BTC-Version (SB 1646)!’, ‘Passing BBL BTC-Version Means Peace!’, ‘Migz, Pusong Bangsamoro, Senador ng Mindanao! And many others. 

At the Awang Airport, Sen. Zubiri, and his delegation of lawmakers, and their staff were welcome by SIGNBBL, and other CSO leaders, and as they were moving to board their vehicles they were met by pupils of Dar Ul Uloom Wal Hikma Elementary School with their streamers; flag lets, and placards welcoming, thanking and appreciating the Senator. 

Along the road to Darapanan, peoples chanting “ZUBIRI MABUHAY KA! “KAPATID KA NG BANGSAMORO! PINASA MO ANG BBL-BTC! IPANALO SA KONGRESO! While raising placards and tarps.

Courtesy call to MILF in Camp Darapanan

Upon their arrival at Camp Darapanan to pay courtesy visit to MILF leaders for the first time, they were welcome by MILF Central Committee Chair Al Hadj Murad Ibrahim, and members of the Central Committee. 

They came to Darapanan to assure the MILF leadership of the upper chamber’s full support for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro law.

 In his remarks, Chairman Ebrahim emphasized the need to counter violent extremism through the immediate passage of the BBL that is acceptable to the Bangsamoro people. He noted that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) emerged when the government failed to implement the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF. The ASG was a splinter group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

He also said the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is a breakaway group of the MILF.

The BIFF was formed when the Memorandum of Agreement-Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) for the establishment of Bangsamoro Juridical Entity during the Arroyo administration was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court due to lack of consultations.

“The Maute Group was formed because the BBL was not passed during Aquino administration”, Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim added.

 Assurance in support to BBL

On the part of the Senate, the four senators assured MILF, and other stakeholders to see through its enactment into law within the year. “BBL ang Valentines gift namin sa MILF at sa Bangsamoro” said Zubiri. 

He assured the people that BBL will be passed before the Senate recess in March 22, 2018. Zubiri stated that he recognizes the aspiration of the Moro people for peace, and development through self-governance.

He is also optimistic of the approval of the draft BBL without hitches."We need a long term political solution achievable only with a new political landscape,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri, Estrada, Hontiveros, and Angara all assured their support for the enactment into law of the BBL, the enabling measure for the replacement of ARMM with a Bangsamoro Regional entity as agreed by the MILF, and the national government.

3rd Joint Public Hearing on BBL

Thousand also came on board buses, trucks and jeepneys from various parts of Maguindanao, and Cotabato City to show their support for the passage of BBL.  

Zubiri spearheaded the Joint Public Hearing on the proposed BBL at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex inside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) compound.

Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, a staunch supporter of BBL was also present during the public hearing

The committees involved in the joint hearings are Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, Ways and Means, and Finance and Sub-Committee on the BBL.

While the consultation is ongoing at the SKCC, a big crowd of Bangsamoro men and women patiently waited outside the complex.

BBL BTC-Version Unifying Factor

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said that she also filed BTC BBL – Version in the Senate. Minority floor leader Senator Bam Aquino also filed the same bill

Both administration, and the opposition are one with BBL, “99 % of the Senate are supportive to the BBL I filed”, said Zubiri

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Bai Sandra Sema said that Bangsamoro peoples are now united. “At no time in our history that our Bangsamoro people have come together in the BTC, they work together, the MILF and the MNLF, Sema said.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said that the passage of the BBL will prevent conflicts like what had happened in Marawi.

“Let us not give the terrorists an opportunity to create a narrative that we are not true to our promises,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of the ARMM thru Speaker Datu Bimbo Sinsuat submitted a resolution supporting the immediate passage of the SB 1646

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu expressed his full support to the bill for the future generation, and for the unity of Muslims, Christians, and Lumads.

“If we (politicians) are a hindrance to the passage of the bill, then I’m willing to step down,” Mangudadatu said.

The Provincial Government of Cotabato on the other hand has submitted a resolution to the Senate declaring their support to the proposed bill ,and calling Congress and Senate to hasten its passage.

CSO as Pushers of BBL

As major stakeholders for peace in Mindanao, Bangsamoro Civil Society groups committed to push for the passage of BBL BTC – Version. We are doing this lobbying both in the upper and lower house for the past few weeks, said SIGNBBL Chair Hadji Murshed.

 “As peace advocates, we appreciate Sen. Zubiri for his unconditional support to us Bangsamoro by sponsoring the BTC Version of BBL. We look forward to the approval of the said bill, and for being so, we want to adopt him as Son of Bangsamoro for his good gesture to the Bangsamoro people”

SIGNBBL together with League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO) will also have their convoy to Marawi City today to show support to the public hearing for the Maranaw people of Marawi, and Lanao del Sur. 

LBO headed by Hashim B. Manticayan was in-charged of a mass mobilizations during yesterday’s event. 

In an interview by local radio station with LBO Spokesman Bobby Benito this morning, he said that the draft BBL sponsored by Sen. Zubiri will bring peace, harmony and justice not only to the Bangsamoro but other inhabitants as well. He appealed to the Senate to consider the passage of a CAB-Compliant BBL because it is the only one acceptable to the Bangsamoro people, and other stakeholders.  

Another CSO active leader who submitted Manifesto is Mindanao Action for Peace and Development (MAPAD) Executive Director Samsodin Amella. 

In their manifesto presented during the hearing, they said that ‘BBL is the most practical and viable answer to the quest of the Bangsamoro for self-determination. It will also correct the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro’, Amella said.