Gov't sees growing legion of peace campaigners for Bangsamoro pact — Deles

April 9, 2014 8:42 am 

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, April 8 (PNA) — Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles has expressed confidence that the five provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will stick it out in the envisioned Bangsamoro region, saying the government is expecting a growing legion of peace advocates campaigning for the entrenchment of the Bangsamoro government.

“I think we can be confident about the results of the plebiscite… What we expect is palaki ng palaki yung mga mangangampanya para dito (more and more will campaign in favor of this),” she told reporters here last Sunday.

As envisioned in the newly signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a ministerial form of Bangsamoro government will replace the ARMM after Congress passes the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and it is affirmed by the constituents in a plebiscite. The CAB is the final peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed last March 27 in Malacañang.

Deles was in Maguindanao for the "Ka-PEACEtahan ng Maguindanao" hosted by Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, which was highlighted by a kanduli or thanksgiving banquet in celebration of the CAB signing.

Mangudadatu reiterated his support to the establishment of the Bangsamoro government, saying this will pave the road for lasting peace and fuel the entry of investors in the area.

While expressing hopes for the positive outcome of the plebiscite, Deles also asked the constituents not to vote blindly in ratifying the BBL.

“When they ask questions or clarifications, we should grant it to them. That is their right and it is our obligation to answer to the best of our ability. To those who have already decided because there is enough basis for a decision, the call is do not just prepare your own vote but to help sell this to others,” Deles said.

ARMM straddles the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

"By and large, what we have seen in the consultations [in these provinces] is a real interest, a real desire to have the best for the Bangsamoro," Deles stressed.

In Mindanao, voices of support to the CAB have begun to pour in. For one, the Mindanao Civil Society Organization Platform for Peace, an umbrella of at least 120 groups and networks on the island, has thrown its support to the passage of the BBL.

For his part, Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said the front is confident that the BBL will be ratified during the plebiscite, based on the “general pulse of the Bangsamoro people.”

“Naniniwala kami na majority o di kaya lahat sila ay papabor dyan sa basic law, sapagkat gusto nila na mayroon silang gobyerno [na Bangsamoro] (We believe that majority will favor the basic law because they want to have a [Bangsamoro] government),” Jaafar also told reporters.

Allaying the apprehensions of non-Muslims residents in the proposed Bangsamoro region, Jaafar stressed that they will continue to enjoy their rights to religious practices and can exercise their democratic rights through participation in the elections, among others.

The plebiscite for the envisioned Bangsamoro region will cover the existing geographical area of the ARMM; the six municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Pantar, Nunungan, Tagaloan and Tangkal in Lanao del Norte; 39 villages in North Cotabato; and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela (PNA)



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