IN PHOTO- MILF PIP Chair, and BTC Commissioner Mohagaher Iqbal at the podium during the Forum with Basilan Educators in Isabela, Basilan

Basilan Educators attend Forum on Understanding Bangsamoro Organic Law

Isabela, Basilan- More than four hundred division heads, and educators in Basilan attended a Forum on Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in Basilan State College Amphitheater on October 20, 2018. 

The activity was organized by Bangsamoro ICSP Alumni Association, Inc.(BIAA) and sponsored by Pathways of Australian Embassy in partnership with Bangsamoro Professionals Group Ad hoc Committee Peace Implementing Panel & the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). 

The speakers were mostly from the BTC such as Chair Mohagher Iqbal of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, BTC Comms. Atty Raisa Jajurie and Dr. Susana S. Anayatin. 

Chairman Iqbal spoked on the historical context of the BOL, and how the term Moro came into use?

It came from Latin and Greek terms "Mauris" or "Maurus" which means "black or "dark". It was Hispanized into Moro and Anglicised into Moors which referred to Muslims inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal & Spain today) who ruled it for almost 8th centuries. Later on, it referred to all Muslims including those in the Philippines in the 16th century. 

Mr. Iqbal paraphrased President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement regarding the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people which was enumerated into four aspects such as: 1. Loss of Sovereignty and Independence, 2. Loss of Lands and Homeland, 3. Loss or deprivation of internal development and 4. Genocidal campaign against the Moro people".

Comm. Anayatin talked on provisions about education, and cited, " Section 20 Art. X of the constitution & this organic law-The Bangsamoro Government shall exercise its authority over the following: Education & Skills Training".

Part of the huge crowd attending the Forum on BOL with Basilan educators

Prof. Anayatin received a round of applause when she said, " ...The National Government shall continue to support, enhance and strengthen the Mindanao State University system, including this State College of Basilan". 

Comm. Jajurie talked on some salient points of the BOL like Bangsamoro Identity and cited its provisions, "The native inhabitants of Mindanao, and the Sulu the advent of the Spanish colonization, their spouses & their descendants have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro". 

Comm. Jajurie also cited another provision about Local Government Units, "The Bangsamoro Government and Constituents of Local Gov't. Units, the privileges already enjoyed under R.A. 7161, and the existing laws shall not be diminished. They shall be entitled to Internal Revenue Allotment". 

She also said, in the final provisions- "ARMM created Local Gov't. Units without Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) like in Basilan such as municipalities of Al-Barka, Hadji Muhammad Ajul, Akbar and Hadji Muhtamad are hereby converted to regular municipalities upon ratification of the BOL". These municipalities will then receive their IRA upon the ratification of the OLBARMM.

Some questions were asked especially from Lamitan City residents. Why are employees compelled to resign especially those working in the ARMM?

Chairman Mohagher Iqbal answered it in negative, they would be rehired as the MILF are trained as combatants they cannot run the office. Definitely those who would be hired are equipped and skilled in bureaucracy and management. 

Atty. Jajurie supported and said, “On the basis of the Constitution there would be a separation pay, but they are banned to apply again within five years. The prohibition is not a creation of the BTC, but has been there since the inception of the 1987 Constitution but only included it in the BOL. 

Another relevant question was asked, "If the Bangsamoro residents travel outside territory do they need to use passport? 

Atty. Jajurie explained again the difference between identity and citizenship. 

Bangsamoro is an identity not citizenship, the latter needs passport. 

Basilan Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nurhaya Abdulrahim, and Dr. Saudi Dalu, Superintendent of Lamitan City both pledged 101% commitment to support the BOL, and vote yes during the plebiscite. 

Usec. Alzad Sattar of the Bureau of Madaris-ARMM also pledged his yes vote. 

The forum formally ended before 2PM as the team left for Zamboanga City.