“The Bangsamoro People are worth fighting for” - Rep. Bai Sandra Sema

Frustrated with the latest development in Congress that is about to adjourn the session without passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Maguindanao 1st District Rep. Bai Sandra Sema said, “I am disappointed but I am more emboldened today than ever. I will never lose sight of the fact that the Bangsamoro people are worth fighting for.”

In a speech delivered during the 1st ARMM Bangsamoro Women Summit on February 1 held in Cotabato City, Sema said she was not weakened by the way things are unfolding.

“I say that as we are being pushed aside, we are all the more closing our ranks. As we are being divided, we are all the more getting unite,” she pointed out. 

“And as we are being pushed to the wall, we gather our strength and we will push back harder, harder than what we have done before,” Sema stressed.

Sema, together with fellow Mindanao lawmakers, have been fighting in the House of Representatives for the passage of BBL, a measure that is hoped to provide self-governance for the Bangsamoro people through genuine autonomy.

In March 27, 2014, the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in a bid to end the decades of conflict in Mindanao and bring peace and development to the Bangsamoro people.

The Aquino Administration created the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to draft the BBL. After doing its major task, the BTC submitted the draft BBL to Malananang Palace.

The proposed legislation was forwarded to Congress but it gone through a rough sailing because of the perceived unconstitutional provisions which were questioned by some legislators.

Thereafter, Congress has changed the BBL into Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BL-BAR) which is objectionable for the MILF who once pronounced that they will not accept a law that will give an autonomy lesser than ARMM.

The MILF reiterates that the government should fulfil its promise to the Bangamoro people to provide a meaningful autonomous government through the passage of CAB-compliant BBL.

Sema said, “The Bangsamoro Homeland cannot be considered part of the territory of the Philippines, unless its people are also considered people of this country.”

“If they consider the Bangsamoro people as citizens of this country, we should not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. We must be given the equal protection of the laws---the blood of the Bangsamoro people are as sacred as the blood of the SAF,” she underscored.

The lady lawmaker said the Bangsamoro people must be given access to quality education, must be guaranteed on the rights to practice their religion, and “We must be given our right to pursue happiness, and to enjoy peace and prosperity in our homeland.”

With the dimming hope for the BBL passage, Sema said, “We will bow down to the majesty of the Almighty God, knowing that He will reward those who have chosen the right path, and will punish those who do not honor thy oath.”