IN PHOTO- Chairman Mohagher Iqbal (center in checkered polo shirt), (in his right) Comm. Ebrahim Ali, Talitay Vice Mayor Abdulhamid Buisan (in white polo shirt), and Maj/Gen. Dato Haji Mohammad Nazir bin Hajji Mami, Head of the International Monitoring Team (IMT)- Mindanao 13

Kutawato Political Committee holds Thanksgiving Ceremony and Advocacy on BOL

Cotabato City- More than six thousand individuals from all walks of life, and areas in Maguindanao attended the “Thanksgiving Ceremony (Kanduli), and Advocacy on Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on August 18 at Datu Butocan Elementary School, Makir, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

The gathering was sponsored and facilitated by the Kutawato Political Committee headed by Abubakar Abas.

In his message, MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal discussed thoroughly the salient provisions of the BOL in the vernacular for the attendees to clearly understandthem. He stressed the importance of peace negotiation compared to war.

He quoted one of the famous statements of the late Ameerul Mujahideen, Ustadj Hashim Salamat (Allahu Yarhamu) that says, “The most practical way to solve the problem of the Bangsamoro is in the context of negotiation not to engage in war.” 

Iqbal said that the BOL is 80-90% Bangsamoro gains from the peace process, nay the decades-old struggle for right to self-determination.

It includes the Sharia’h Justice System, Islamic Banking and Financing, the Parliamentary Form of Government for the Bangsamoro, the appointment of Wali, and the Chief Minister as head of the parliament, and creating proper system in terms of decision makings that will be executed through consensus and collective leadership which is in line with the policy of MILF leadership since its creation in 1983.

On the issue of taxes, Iqbal said that, 75% will go to Bangsamoro, and 25% to the Government. But the government will start to get the allotted percentage of their share after 10 years. 

The Block Grant of 60 Billion annually as stipulated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law will be automatically appropriated and released to the Bangsamoro Government without passing through congress for appropriation which is the normal process before. With this arrangement, it would be easy to utilize, and appropriate for the basic services and implementation of programs and projects by the Bangsamoro Government.

Meanwhile, Municipal Administrator Datu Israel Untong Sinsuat, who represented Datu Odin Sinsuat Mayor Datu Ombra Q. Sinsuat, and his son, Maguindanao Vice Governor Datu Lester Sinsuat expressed his gratitude to the organizers for holding the thanksgiving ceremony and advocacy in their town.

He was glad to see residents massive support for the organic law. He said that the administration of Datu Odin Sinsuat will give full support for BOL; urged for a continuous campaign on the organic law to the young people so that they will be convinced to vote yes during the plebiscite.

He emphasized that the gains of the elder leaders of Moro people are not for them to enjoy, but a care and securing the future of the next generation. In this sense, they must work together with sincerity so that young leaders can be able to nurture the history, and achievements of the Moro leaders for the Bangsamoro, he added.

Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) Chief of Staff Sammy Al-Mansour, also Commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) advised members of the MILF to avoid affiliating themselves to any of the leaders of Moro Front, stressing that it is not good for the organization.

Al Mansour declined to discuss the BOL, saying that much has been said by Iqbal in his message. He told the audience, that they are one in the leadership in admitting that as far as the peace process, and the organic law is concerned, it is Iqbal who is very knowledgeable about it. 

MILF Central Committee Secretariat Chief Muhammad Ameen, who is also commissioner of the BTC represented MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who was not able to make it due his hectic schedule. 

Al Haj Murad, according to Ameen apologized for not attending the gathering.  

Ameen said that Chairman Al Haj Murad and members of the Central Committee are expecting a delegation of Lanao Del Sur local government officials who are due to arrive at Darapanan, the same day. He said that they are also rushing up so that they can catch up with the arrival of the delegation in the MILF Camp.

For his part, Maj/Gen. Dato Hajji Mohammad Nazir bin Hajj Mami, Head of the International Monitoring Team- Mindanao Batch 13 (IMT-m 13) stressed that the Bangsamoro People “Must join together in taking care of what is in the Organic Law and ensure the implementation of good governance for the people in order to show to the world that the Bangsamoro has its capacity to govern himself and run through a meaningful and genuine services for people.”

His message became so clear as it was interpreted in the vernacular by Atty. Haron Meling, Executive Assistant to BTC Commissioner Iqbal.

Gen. Mami said that the role of people who will sit as leaders in the Bangsamoro Government is very challenging that they have to prove their sincerity and commitment in the establishment of a peaceful community with the guidance of Allah, the Creator’, where the global community will look forward for betterment of the Bangsamoro in all aspects of life. 

Datu Romeo Sema, Vice Chairman on Political Affairs of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF-Jikiri) related the scenario of how the MILF, and MNLF started to unite in order to attain just and lasting peace in Mindanao. 

According to him, it started when the both leadership of the Moro Fronts sat in a meeting with leaders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and were advised to join together in working for unity for people of Bangsamoro. 

Keeping that as an inspiration, both Moro fronts agreed to unify in order to achieve the Moro aspiration for peace and progress, and betterment of the lives of their constituents and other groups who wants to be recognized as Bangsamoro in identity. 

Sema said that the BOL is a fruit of sacrifices of people who fought against oppression, and so we must treasure the fruit of that struggle.

He told the participants that there will be massive campaign for BOL by the different networks in the Bangsamoro so the people would know and understand basically what has been achieved in the peace process. The BOL enacted by congress and signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is a law that is a good to nurture and taken cared of by the Bangsamoro so that they can start for a change.

The MILF and MNLF-Jikir Group had twice signed a Unified Declaration at Camp Darapanan in the past years.