DAVAO CITY — A Mindanao-based peace-advocacy group challenged presidential candidates to make a stand on the Bangsamoro peace agreement in line with the second year commemoration of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
After two presidential debates, Gus Miclat of the Initiatives for International Dialogue said “almost all our candidates remain inarticulate or pretend to be clueless on the relevance of the CAB as an instrument of genuine peace, not only for Mindanao but for the whole country.”
“What we have heard so far were motherhood statements bereft of any concrete plans for implementation,” he said.
Miclat said discussing BBL and CAB during political campaigns are “necessary”.
“But with the way they conduct themselves during public debates, they have restricted themselves too much, that one may wonder is it taboo to talk about peace?” he said.
CAB is the final peace agreement signed by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, 2014. In a statement on Sunday, March 27, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said CAB “served as basis for the drafting of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and outlined socio-economic interventions and transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms to ensure a just and lasting peace not only in Mindanao but across the country.”
However, the BBL, which was signed by the Aquino administration and the MILF, failed to pass in both the House of Representatives and Senate until its final session last month.
“For any candidate who aims to assume the Presidency, having a concrete stand on how he or she will continue to implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is crucial. Silence or refusal to discuss this issue is inexcusable and a craven abdication of their moral duty to deliver just peace in Mindanao,” said Miclat.
IID said CAB embodies the “justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and prosperity and allow for meaningful self-governance”.
“Remembering the significance of the second anniversary of CAB signing will be meaningless and empty if we do not at all renew and further strengthen our support for this historic peace agreement,” he said.
‘Stand up fo peace’
The second anniversary of the signing of CAB with the theme,“Stand up for peace. Long live the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)!”, was commemorated today at the Notre Dame University Gymnasium in Cotabato City.
The government’s chief negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said even though the BBL was not passed by the Congress, the Bangsamoro peace process has a lot of gains.
“There is a solid basis for the people of the Bangsamoro to remain hopeful and continue looking forward toward a better, peaceful future,” said Coronel-Ferrer.
“Most importantly, the CAB binds the government and the MILF to a road map that serves as the best deterrent to violent extremism and lays down the needed social and political reform that would see the full transformation of the Bangsamoro region into a center of peace and development,” she added. (davaotoday.com)