CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Heads of Jesuit-run schools in the Philippines have called on the government to hasten the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as Philippine lawmakers have announced that the draft legislation will be passed before Pres. Rodrigo Duterte would give his State of the Nation Address (Sona) this July.
In a joint statement released to the media over the weekend, the presidents of Ateneo universities are urging the Duterte government to pass the enhanced version of the BBL as drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC).
Once enacted into law, the BBL will result in the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
The proposed legislation is seen to enhance the socio-economic standing of the Bangsamoro or the Moro peoples of Mindanao as it establishes their right to self-determination.
The new BBL version, the Jesuit priests said, “hews closest to the genuine aspirations of Filipinos and other marginalized sectors in Mindanao for lasting peace based on justice, economic growth and social equity.”
“The law’s passage would provide a real and meaningful foundation for countering violent extremism and addressing the many other conflicts in Mindanao. We implore our legislators not to delay such passage any further,” the Ateneo presidents said.
“Our Catholic faith and Jesuit tradition call us to tread the pathways taken by the Prince of Peace, daring us to embrace multi-cultural openness and inter-religious dialogue,” they added.
In 2015, when the first draft of the BBL was crafted, the Ateneo presidents have come up with a stand, stating: “The establishment of a Muslim region in Mindanao that is truly autonomous is mandated by the Constitution as a social justice imperative. Let this social justice no longer be postponed.
In Mindanao, three Jesuit-run universities operate near the periphery of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region – Ateneo de Zamboanga in Zamboanga City, Ateneo de Davao in Davao City, and Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan in Cagayan de Oro City. (davaotoday.com)