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Bangsamoro accord doesn’t assure peace

02:29 AM August 27, 2014

We are a concerned group of Filipino citizens—a coalition of local and overseas residents from Zamboanga and Mindanao Region (Color-Zamar)—who can no longer remain silent on a significant issue affecting the lives of our people in Mindanao. We firmly believe that our voice represents the vast, silent majority of peace-loving Mindanaoans who feel that the so-called “Bangsamoro peace accord” is not only unconstitutional, but also immoral, unjust and inequitable.

“Nothing is more unequal than the equal treatment of unequals”— and so, from the very start, the Philippine government has chosen to speak to a faction of the divided Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which is pretending to represent the whole of Mindanao. The P64-billion question is, what happens to the dominant non-Muslim community, other Muslims and the various indigenous peoples who have been left out of the “peace process?”

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So much troubled waters have passed under a contentious bridge which is often described in camouflaged acronyms—“BFA, CAB, BTC and BBL”—prompting several erudite observers, including a columnist from the Inquirer, to posit: “the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law [BBL] will be so mangled that the edited version will be different from the original text when it is passed by Congress.”

Even the MILF chief negotiator was quoted as saying that 70 percent of the 100-page draft was ‘watered down’ (diluted, deleted or diverted) by lawyers in the Office of the President. On the other hand, the chief government negotiator, who is not even a Mindanaoan, hastened, rather palliatively, the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB), based on a Bangsamoro Framework Agreement (BFA) without regard to the legal, constitutional, religious, cultural, moral or equitable issues as well as consultations with the majority of people in Mindanao. As the saying goes, “marry in haste, repent at leisure.”

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It is noteworthy to mention that those of us who live in Mindanao, particularly those in Zamboanga, have endured a long history of conflict, including the Cabatangan MNLF rebellion of 2001, and more recently, the siege of 2013 by the Moro National Liberation Front. It is therefore understandable that the people warily but substantively long for, and pray for, the kind of peace that is without fear or threat, intimidation, killings, violence and war.

With these aspirations and conviction, we the people of Zamboanga and Mindanao region vehemently and vigorously oppose this so-called peace agreement, which was hastily drafted without proper or due diligence. It does not and cannot guarantee the kind of peace that Mindanaoans truly seek and desire. The people of Mindanao deserve better.

—DR. CESAR F. CLIMACO JR.,

secretary general,

Coalition of Local & Overseas Residents from Zamboanga and Mindanao Region, Santa Maria, Zamboanga City

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, Bangsamoro accord, bangsamoro framework agreement, BFA, CAB, Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro, MILF, Mindanao Region, Mindanaoans, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, peace process
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