COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/September 15) – “To find peace, the power of love for the Bangsamoro must outweigh the love of power, the love of wealth, and the love of fame. Only when we work together can we achieve our goal of peace,” civil society organizations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said in an open letter to the Authority on Wednesday. Bangsamoro Transition (BTA), which has 80 members. the inaugural session of Parliament.
The letter, signed by Guiamel Alim, chairman of the Bangsamoro Civil Society Consortium (CBCS), reminded MPs that lasting solutions come from people working together.
“It’s not for us; it is for our children and future generations. This is the time to talk to each other, not about each other or against each other. Prove to everyone that with the opportunities available, you can make things happen. Show the rest of the country that indeed, given the opportunity, time, space and resources, you can make it easier to chart a better future for your people,” Alim wrote. The letter is titled “A call for unity, solidarity and joint action for a peaceful transition and beyond.”
The letter noted that the unity meetings between the leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who led the revolution and fought for the Bangsamoro “now have the opportunity to lead our government “.
The BTA, led by the MILF, has 80 members, 41 of whom are appointed by the MILF and 39 by the government (GPH). Of the 80 members, 55 are from the Moro Liberation Fronts – 41 from the MILF, seven from the MNLF under Muslimin Sema and seven from the MNLF under Nur Misuari. This is the first time that the Misuari MNLF has participated in the MILF peace process. The Sema group was represented in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission from 2017 to 2019 and BTA1 or BTA under the Duterte administration, from 2019 to 2022.
Among the 80 Members of Parliament (MPs) are 15 sons and daughters of Moro revolutionary leaders, field commanders and members of the peace negotiation panel. Sixteen of the 80 are women.
The transition period was to be from 2019 to June 30, 2022 when the first group of elected officials are sworn in. It was extended by law for another three years or until June 30, 2025, when it postponed the May 2022 election of the 80-member Bangsamoro Parliament to May 2025.
The letter also cited the composition of the new BTA. In addition to the 55 people nominated by the Moro liberation fronts, the BTA includes representatives of indigenous peoples, settlers and civil society, among others.
The combined wisdom of revolutionary organizations and that of the various sectoral representatives of the BTA and the support of international development partners and local CSOs, he said, “can make the difference in this protracted transition”, he said. -he declares.
The letter called on the BTA to “assemble your deeds for the good of the people of Bangsamoro”, reminding MPs that the tasks ahead are “gargantuan” and that despite the initial economic growth recorded under BARMM, the region is always “the lower of the development threshold”.
“Threats to peace and security are still present. Your constituents – your employees have high expectations of you. We must overcome all these challenges to pave the way for a political environment conducive to the pursuit of peace and development,” the letter said, adding that the road to recovery and lasting peace “remains long and winding, as we continue to face the challenges of inequitable access to dwindling resources, poverty, disunity within our communities, exacerbated by recurring disasters, the pandemic and climate change.
The letter also urged the BTA to work in solidarity to pass relevant laws and programs to improve the lives of Bangsamoro residents; promote inclusive development so that no one is left behind; fight and resist corruption so that resources intended for the well-being of populations are preserved; strictly follow the provisions of the ethics of good governance; put public service before self; work to build social cohesion, inter-tribal unity and promote justice, tolerance and understanding for healing, reconciliation and national unity; listen to the legitimate demands of the people, especially the poor.
He also called on the national government to “sustain the achievements of the peace process by faithfully respecting the terms of the peace agreement even as we implore the sincerity of the MILF and the MNLF to do their part”; accelerate the rehabilitation and reconstruction of all areas destroyed by wars.
He also urged armed groups and political leaders in the region “to create an enabling political environment for the people of the BTA to do their jobs.”
He also called on all parties to “aggressively implement the normalization provisions under the peace agreement.”
He challenged MPs to ‘show the rest of the country that, indeed, you are the right choice in the BTA’.
The letter noted that rebuilding from the torn physical, economic and social fabric following decades of violent conflict “requires us to think outside the box and consolidate the government’s convergence approach to inclusive development.”
“There are no miracle solutions. Our problems are systemic and intergenerational. We are still recovering from lost opportunities, eradicating prejudice and discrimination within our region and between our people and people of other faiths, cultures and religions so that we can foster healing and reconciliation,” the letter added.
He acknowledged that “perfecting the art of good governance and reshaping values are ongoing challenges”, especially since BTA is a pioneer as it is the only autonomous region among 17 regions in the country and adopts a form of parliamentary government under the current presidential system.
“It is an opportunity as well as a challenge, with the national government as well as other regions considering how you translate your political will into good governance,” the letter said, adding that the parliamentary form of governance is intended to “respond to our claiming the right to determine our own socio-politico-economic development.
As a CSO traveling with BTA, “we place our trust and hope that you can overcome the various differences that divide us and work for the common good of the Bangsamoro.”
The transition period, he added, “is an opportunity to strengthen solidarity and unity of purpose.”
“We are confident that the BTA can continue its tasks to complete the transition process, demanding that each honorable member of this august body go beyond personal interests and find common ground for collaboration,” he said.
The letter emphasized that CSOs will continue to accompany peace work as it offers “our organizations constructive and peaceful engagements and partnerships without losing our inherent role as watchdogs.”
“If in unity and solidarity you have been able to achieve a high level of self-determination, it is also in unity and by acting together that you will also achieve the ultimate goal of peace and development. In your hands, we entrust the well-being of our employees. Do your best (Jihad) and God will do the rest,” the CSO letter reads..
The BTA holds its inaugural session on Thursday. President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. will address the transitional body during his first visit to Mindanao since taking office on June 30, 2022. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)