Peace advocates mull mandatory representation of Bangsamoro people in the LGUs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY- Moro Peace advocates who gathered in a visioning workshop here on November 1-3, 2018 urge the Philippine government that the Bangsamoro people outside the Bangsamoro autonomous region be provided of mandatory representation to their local government units from the barangay to provincial levels.

They said Muslims have peculiar needs like Madaris education and Halal foods aside from the difficulty in acquiring jobs due to discrimination and that it is of big help for them that the Bangsamoro communities be given a voice in the legislative and executive branches of the local government.

The activity entitled “Bangsamoro Visioning Exercises” was hosted by the Insider Mediators gathered more than fifty Moro, Indigenous People and Christian peace advocates from the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat and cities of General Santos, Koronadal and Tacurong.

The Muslim participants cited the importance of strengthening the propagation of Islamic values among Muslim children amidst the strong influence of western culture.

Other concerns raised were the lack of spaces for Muslims to pray in establishments like hospitals, terminals, malls and the contamination of foods in hospitals with Haram both in private and public hospitals wherein foods being served are prepared with the same utensils used for pork.

A delegate asked, “If the IPs are given representation in the local government why not do the same to the Moro tribes?”

Under the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA), the minority indigenous cultural communities are entitled for the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative in the legislative branches of the local government units.

Lead facilitator Quraish Langcap, IM cluster head for Southern Mindanao, cited the importance of knowing the concerns and propositions of the Bangsamoro people outside the autonomous region since they were among those who struggled for the realization of the Bangsamoro government.

He said there should be parallel development in the Bangsamoro territory and in the Bangsamoro communities outside the autonomous region.

The passage of Republic Act No. 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law provides the establishment of the Bangsamoro autonomous government upon ratification by the majority vote in a plebiscite to be conducted in the provinces of the ARMM and the identified adjacent towns in Lanao del Norte and barangays in Cotabato province on January 21, 2019.

Same Bangsamoro visioning workshops were held simultaneously in other regions outside the ARMM. The activity was supported by the United Nations Development Programme.