IN PHOTO- MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim addressing the big crowd at Camp Darapanan after he received the copy of R.A. 11054 (Bangsamoro Organic Law from BTC Chair Ghazali Jaafar (Photo by LUWARAN)

MILF conducts Bangsamoro Consultative Assembly

Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) conducted a Bangsamoro Consultative Assembly on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)/Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on July 29, 2018 at Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The event was attended by more than 96,000 participants from different parts of Mindanao. 

“We ask the help of Allah (SWT) that this law, once accepted by our people, will be an instrument in order to realize the long struggle and the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people for self-determination”, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said after the official turn-over of the signed copy of the Bangsamoro Organic Law to the MILF by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) led by Chairman Ghazali Jaafar.

The Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM) or the Bangsamoro Organic Law was signed into law by the President after its ratification in the Upper and Lower Houses. The President delivered on his commitment during his 3rd State of the Nation Address to sign the BOL after 48 hours. 

Part of a big crowd who converge at Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao during consultative assembly.  (Front row)-Some of MILF Forces who are securing the event

“The struggle of the Bangsamoro does not end in signing the law, it does not end in having the Bangsamoro Government, and it does not end in implementing all agreements. It is a continuing struggle where everybody have to agree to the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people” Al Haj Murad added.

Furthermore, in his message, the MILF Chairman also emphasized the importance of unity among the Bangsamoro. He also said that there will be a continuous consultation on the Bangsamoro regarding the BOL. “We need the entire opinion of our people. We will not succeed until the BOL we accept is also accepted by our people”, Murad added. 

“As far as the history of the Moro People, this is not the end, but I think today is the beginning of another chapter”, BTC Chairman and MILF 1st Vice Chairman Jaafar said during his closing message.

Jaafar also expressed his gratitude to the different personalities and organizations which were instrumental in the passing of the historic law starting with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the leadership of the two Houses of Congress and the legislators who continued to push for the passage of the bill. He also thanked other sectors who continuously expressed their support and lobbied during the legislation period. 

Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel (PIP) said that “Nation building is harder than conducting a revolution”. He emphasized that there are more challenges now that the Bangsamoro Organic Law has already been passed. He called for the unity of the Bangsamoro especially in campaigning for the BOL during the plebiscite if the MILF  leadership decides to accept it. 

IN PHOTO-MILF PIP Chair Mohagher Iqbal addressing the big crowd on July 29 at Camp Darapanan during the Consultative Assembly (LUWARAN PHOTO)

“The Bangsamoro Organic Law now is 85% good and 15% less”, Iqbal said with regards to the content of the BOL. He enumerated several provisions which he considered as good including the 55 powers of the Bangsamoro, the parliamentary form of government, implementation of the Shari’ah law, and strong provisions on fiscal autonomy. However, provisions on the plebiscite, policing, basic rights, and distinction of powers were removed. Principles in the preamble such as parity of esteem, asymmetrical relationship, and principle of subsidiarity were also removed.

After his explanation on the BOL, Iqbal asked the participants on whether they would vote in favor of the BOL during the plebiscite? His query was answered with a resounding “yes” from the crowd. The plebiscite for the BOL should be conducted not less than 90 days and not more than 150 days after the president signed the bill into law.

Representatives from different regions of the Political Committee and the National Front of the MILF also expressed their support in favor of the BOL. They also conveyed their unwavering commitment to the Bangsamoro struggle and the leadership of the MILF.

Sheikh Khalifah Nando of the Hayatul Ulama said that they are giving their full trust and support to the decision of the MILF leadership regarding the BOL. Dr. Ibno Yunos of the MILF – Foreign Representatives also declared their acceptance and full support. The Social Welfare Committee represented by Engr. Aida Silongan also voiced out their support and encouraged everyone to register in preparation for the upcoming plebiscite. 

Representative of the Youth sector, Marjani Mimbantas renewed their commitment for a lasting peace. He also declared their undying support to the leadership of the MILF. He also said that they will not veer away from the path of determination and peace. 

Dr. Cabayan “Bing” Bacar, representing the professionals challenged her fellow professionals to help in educating the people about the contents of the BOL. 

Political leaders Pangalian Balindong and Benjamin Loong also voiced out their support to the BOL. Datu Antao Midtimbang, representing the Traditional Leaders also expressed his support to the BOL and appealed to other armed groups in the Bangsamoro areas to silence their guns and give the BOL a chance. 

Duma Mascod, Commissioner Melanio Ulama, and Doc. Safrullah Dipatuan, representing the Civil Society Organizations, the Indigenous People, and the UBJP, respectively, also conveyed their utmost support to the Bangsamoro Organic Law. 

Grand Mufti Abu Hurairah Udasan, in his closing Du’a, prayed for the steps of the leaders and sympathizers of the Bangsamoro struggle to be firm and strong for the realization of the noble aspiration of the Bangsamoro people for meaningful peace, justice, and security. He also prayed for the enhancement of unity, solidarity, and integrity of the people in keeping the words of Allah SWT supreme.