IN PHOTO-Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace (fr left to right- seated center) Archbishop Antonio Ledesma Shiek Abdulhadie Gumander and Ustadz Marhan Burhan

JWGRLP holds preparatory meeting for larger peace forum of religious leaders

COTABATO CITY. April 16, 2018. The Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace (JWGRLP) held a preparatory meeting for a larger peace forum intended for religious leaders of all denominations in support to the immediate passage of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) crafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at The Mallberry Suites Business Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City on April 12, 2018.

It was attended by JWGRL President Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and his counterpart Shiek Abdulhadie Gumander of MILF Da'wah Committee for Non – Muslims, and other religious leaders.

 The preparatory meeting was the 2nd considering the 1st was previously conducted in Manila with the same agenda. 

The Joint Working Group agreed to organize a forum in Manila and Mindanao to be attended by at least 400 - 500 participants and 300 of it will be allocated for religious leaders of all denominations and 100 - 200 will be for non - religious stakeholders. 

 It was also agreed during the meeting that representatives from the Supreme Court,  Congress, the Cardinal and the Bangsamoro Grand Mufti, Bangsamoro Transition Commission, GPH and MILF Peace Implementing Panel and Office of Presidential Assistant on Peace Process (OPAPP) will be the resource speakers on the proposed peace forum. 

 Part of the forum is a panel session that aims to discuss about religious freedom and liberty provided for in the BB. 

During the previous meeting held in Manila some members of the Joint Working Group proposed an enhancement on the BBL particularly on free exercise of religious beliefs.

Shiek Gumander and Ustadz Burhan of MILF Da'wah Committee defended the BBL by reading to them the provisions of Bangsamoro Identity, Basic Rights, Bangsamoro Justice System and the Preamble.

They lauded the members of the BTC chaired by Ghazali Jaafar for crafting a law that are more than enough they wished for as non - Muslim religious leaders. 

In the course of the discussion, the situation in Marawi City were also tackled on what intervention the religious leaders could extend. 

Shiek Gumander said that the situation in Marawi was already addressed by the government and non - government organizations, both international and national. 

He argued that, " The best thing we can do now is to address the root causes of the conflict by correcting not only the historical injustices but also the current injustices suffered by the Bangsamoro people.” 

He told the participants, “Let us be together regardless of our religious affiliation in pushing for the immediate passage of BTC crafted BBL which is now deliberated in Congress. "