BTC consults CSO Women leaders on Basic Rights

THIRTY SEVEN (37) Leaders of the Bangsamoro Federations of Women Civil Society Organization (CSO) from the different provinces in mainland Mindanao have attended a whole day consultation-dialogue on Women Basic Rights organized by the Task Force on Women of the Office of the BTC  Chairman Ghazali Jaafar held on May 7, 2017 at Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

BTC Chair Jaafar established at least eight (8) sectoral task force to strengthen unity, solidarity and participation of every sector of the Bangsamoro in crafting the new BBL. Task Force on Women Chairperson Naima Pendi organized the CSO women leaders to share collective ideas and enhance women basic rights in the proposed new BBL. 

BTC Chair clarified that not all recommendations will surely be accommodated but those ideas which can contribute to enhance the BBL shall be put into writing and submitted to the BTC Commissioners. 

The BTC Chair was impressed with the women strength and participation and considered them as the key to man’s success in the struggle. That’s why there is no need to convince CSO Women leaders because they are leaders and they know their assigned task.  The consultation aims to help the BTC in spreading its message to the grassroots.   

BTC Chief of Staff, Prof. Raby Angkal expressed his gladness before the Women CSO leaders saying, “In every man’s success, there’ a woman behind him. He explained the rationale of the dialogue-consultation to level off the Bangsamoro History and other contentious issues in the BBL, unite the women sector with one objective, Angkal emphasized.

Tarhata Balading asked Comm. Anayatin to give updates on Basic Rights Art. IX and the preceding Sections, under Sec. 10 and Sec. 11 that may be added in the provision of the BBL. If none, she recommended to create a new section in basic rights that provides housing settlement for the victims of war in the Bangsamoro. 

Comm. Anayatin cited Basic Rights   Art. IX  (HB 4994)  Sec. 2, Transitional Justice, Sec. 4 addressing human rights violations , Section 10, Protecting women and Children Rights and Sec. 11, participation of women in the Bangsamoro government are some of the significant rights of women and children in the BBL. 

Comm. Solaiman added that women concerns are not all reflected in the BBL but shall be addressed in the Bangsamoro Parliament.  Rest assured that we will address this issue and enhance the BBL.  For the meantime, what we should do is to work hard and support the passage of the BBL.

Bainon Karon, MNLF- SWC Central Committee Chair asked the commissioners: How are you committed to integrate the CDAW and Magna Carta for Women in the BBL? 

BTC Chairman Jaafar replied that the basic rights of women are guaranteed in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), the Divine Law that is permanent. Not necessarily to integrate them in the proposed BBL.

Comm. Anayatin supplemented that CDAW is one of additional features of the BBL but even without this, in Islam they are more protected and greater than what the law specified. What is important is, “If we get our own Bangsamoro government we will have a parliament that will include those provisions we want to be reflected into the BBL.

Comm. Solaiman reiterated that if those suggestions may not be integrated in the BBL by substance or by principle, we the women commissioners will serve as the voice of CSO Women leaders in the BTC.

Baintan Abdullah,  BOD of MWAGG proposed that: There shall be created in the Bangsamoro Ministerial Government a line agency for women, not only a commission as in the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro women; not as an office like the office on Southern Cultural Communities but an agency to be called as “Ministry on Women Affairs”. Because of the following grounds;

a.) Al-Hadith – “women are half of the Society”

b.) Based on the teaching of Islam, women are prohibited to mingle with men.

c.) To justify that the Bangsamoro government is not oppressing the women and not restricting the freedom of women, an issue always raised by the enemies of Islam.

d.) To cater/answer the basic rights of Muslim women (adhere to the Qur’an and Hadith); the settlers (Adhere to RA 9262, Magna Carta of Women and CEDAW); and IP Women (to adhere to IPRA LAW).

BTC Chairman Jaafar thanked the proponent for the proposal and requested her to put them into writing and submit it ASAP. But if the suggestion is against the teaching of Qur’an then we will not accept it.

Comm. Melanio Ulama cited the Article VII, Sec. 4 wherein the women have their reserved seats in the parliament. I am proud to say that the Bangsamoro Government has strong teeth.

Charima Mentoc of INFo-Youth asked, “Is there a chance to have the dialogue-consultation with the youth sectors? We are very much concern regarding the awareness of youth on the Peace process because the youth now are the target of radicalism and very much affected by the social media. Therefore, we are looking for an avenue to participate in the peace process and we are very much eager to talk to you and other MILF leaders.”

Chairman Jaafar answered that radicalism being faced by the youth must undergone comprehensive study on Reading and Understanding Qur’an because in one day dialogue it will only give little impact to them. He cited as sample a program of the UMYO wherein the young professional studied the Qur’an within the period of 6 months, and if organization can replicate this, it is very much helpful, he said.

Comm. Solaiman responded that in Lanao, they are conducting a dialogue being facilitated by the Coalition of Moro Youth Organization. She asked the youth to communicate with her if they wanted to conduct the dialogue, then, the CMYO can assist and help them.

Fatima S. Balabaran  of Barangay Balabaran, Cotabato City  asked, “since the Philippine Justice System is very slow in trying cases, is there any provision that will transfer the case filed with the Regional Trial Court to the Bangsamoro Trial Court?

Comm. Solaiman replied that one of the doctrines of the Philippine Constitution is,  if a case lodge in the regular trial court, you cannot transfer it to other trial courts, “and therefore, we must respect that law” she said.