Saturday, April 19, 2014

GPH panel holds 1st ever consultation on Bangsamoro outside Manila and Mindanao, calls on people’s support

GPH panel holds 1st ever consultation on Bangsamoro outside Manila and Mindanao, calls on people’s support

Posted on Saturday, Apr 12th, 2014
Naga City—The Government of the Philippines (GPH) in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) engaged Bicolanos in this city in its first ever consultation on the Bangsamoro outside Metro Manila and Mindanao after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
“At the end of the day, the meaning of (the peace process) is what it is to the ordinary child in Mindanao. And that is a chance to go to school, a chance to have equal opportunity with other citizens of the Philippines. And not to be discriminated upon based on ethnicity or religion,” said Coronel-Ferrer.
The chief government negotiator also dispelled challenges to the constitutionality of the agreement that provides for autonomous self-governance in parts of Mindanao where more than 90 percent of the population are Muslims. “It is very clear that what we are putting in place is not a separate entity (but an) arrangement that would allow the Muslims and the Bangsamoro a unique place in our society.”
“The word ‘substate’ has been demonized when in fact it has no legal meaning on which to judge constitutionality,” she said. “At the same time, it can only mean being part of a whole, that is, a unit within the state, which is none other than the Philippine state.”
The GPH panel chair ensured that the principles of inclusivity, transparency, and constitutionality were followed in the process of formulating the CAB which they signed with the MILF last March 27 in Malacañang.
Coronel-Ferrer was joined by GPH panel member Senen Bacani and lawyer Anna Tarhata Basman in the forum organized by the Ateneo de Naga University Center for Good Governance, through Ateneo de Naga president Father Primitivo Viray and Ateneo de Naga High School batch 1975.
“It is not only the people of Mindanao who will benefit from the success of the Bangsamoro,” said panel member Bacani. “We are calling on the people of Naga to rally behind the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) as this is expected to usher in shared prosperity and security not just in Mindanao but also in this region and the rest of the country.”
The GPH peace panel continues to attend and organize consultations in various communities to give updates and address questions and concerns on the agreement.
On April 9, the government chief negotiator met in Davao City with leaders of the Catholic clergy in Mindanao, led by Archbishops Antonio Ledesma and Romulo Valles, and with the Women Engaged in Action on UN Security Resolution 1325.
Last month, GPH panel member Yasmin Busran-Lao engaged stakeholders in Zambales in a forum held at the Travelers Hotel in Subic Bay and organized by the Cooperative Development Authority.

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