TAGUM CITY—Moro residents interviewed by Davao Today here blasted the statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which urged lawmakers to “scrutinize and debate” the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law.
Abdhul Mangurunta, 35, said the CBCP statement is “an insult to all the Muslims in Mindanao and only derails the peace process.”
“The word scrutiny is very alarming. I don’t think it is necessary that Congress will scrutinize and argue because the provisions in the Bangsamoro law is clear that it will respect the rights of non-Muslims in all Bangsamoro territories including the indigenous peoples and Christians,” said Mangurunta, an ambulant vendor.
Mangurunta feared that if Congress will allow another wave of scrutiny and debate of the said law, “it will only be watered down and maybe some of the law’s provision will not be favorable to Muslims in Mindanao.”
In a statement Sunday, CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas insisted that indigenous communities in Mindanao should have a say on the Bangsamoro law.
“The CBCP now urges the Legislature to do its part: To study the measure assiduously, to debate it vigorously and to place the interests of the nation and the vision of lasting, principled peace before every petty consideration.”
“Let those who have reservations to the proposal, or even those who oppose it, speak their minds freely, coherently and without reserve, and let those who advocate it argue as strenuously in its defence, for only in the context of intelligent— but charitable — discourse can we hope for a reasonable outcome andresolution,” Villegas said.
College student Nashrudin Abdullah, 22, however, said that CBCP’s statement calling for debate “will only add burden to the plight of Muslims in Mindanao.”
“If CBCP supports the call for a lasting peace in Mindanao, it should have supported the whole process all the way to Congress. To call for a tight scrutiny and debate of the Bangsamoro law is uncalled for,” Addullah said.
“CBCP must understand that we are claiming our right to self determination in Mindanao. Basing on the statement, it seems that the CBCP don’t really support the law at all,” he noted.
Salon owner Amirha Dumacalinta, 40, told Davao Today that if non-Moros will be included in the Bangsamoro territory “then we shouldn’t call it Bangsamoro Basic Law. It is called as such because this law is for all the Moros in Mindanao.”
Meanwhile,the CBCP said that “the emergence of Bangsamoro should not mean the exclusion of any Filipino from any part of the country by reason of religious belief, ethnicity or language. Our Muslim brothers and sisters have found their way through various parts of the archipelago, settling in many provinces heretofore almost exclusively peopled by Christians.”
“As far as we know, they have been welcomed, received and respected. It is our hope that Christians too may receive hospitality in those parts of the one Republic that, by legislation, may be marked out as Bangsamoro,” said Villegas. (davaotoday.com)