Friday, May 30, 2014

Inclusivity at heart and core of Bangsamoro agreement — Deles tells IPs

Inclusivity at heart and core of Bangsamoro agreement — Deles tells IPs

Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
Manila – The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) has always been about protecting the rights of all Filipinos, including the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs), Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles emphasized Friday during a solidarity lunch meeting with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and representatives of the IP sector at the Edsa-Shangrila Hotel in Mandaluyong City.
“Inclusivity has been and will always be at the heart and core of the Bangsamoro agreement,” Deles said, underscoring that “the CAB upholds and protects the rights and welfare of everyone” and ensures broad representation and participation of all sectors, groups, and tribes in the future Bangsamoro autonomous government.
The CAB is the final political settlement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Signed on March 27, the CAB effectively put an end to 17 years of negotiations and the decades-old conflict in the south.
Meanwhile, the BTC has already drafted the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), in line with the provisions of the CAB, which is expected to entrench the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by 2016.  The draft BBL is currently being reviewed by the Office of the President before submission to Congress for passage into law.
Provisions for IPs in Basic Law
Mohagher Iqbal, BTC chair, said that they have ensured the inclusion of IP concerns in the draft law. During the event, he discussed some provisions which include among others: the right of the IPs for native titles and respect to indigenous customs and traditions, justice systems, and political structures; right to an equitable share in the revenues from utilization of resources in their ancestral land; right to free and prior and informed consent; right to political participation including at least two reserved seats for the IPs in the parliament; right to basic services; and right to freedom of choice to self-identity.
Iqbal thanked the commissioners who represent IPs in the BTC, namely Froilyn Mendoza and Melanio Ulama, and IP advocating for IP concerns as he called on IP stakeholders and champions to continue the advocacy towards the passage of the BBL.
Deles lauded “the commitment of the BTC to ensure the recognition and active provisions with respect to the rights of indigenous people in the prospective Bangsamoro” and cited its efforts in creating a “Task Force for IP concerns.”
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) and the European Union assist the work of the BTC Task Force for Indigenous Peoples. Also present at the solidarity lunch were Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Nancy Catamco, officials of the ARMM, representatives from Congress, and Upi town Mayor Ramon Piang who was formerly an alternate member of the GPH Peace Panel representing the IPs.
Catamco cited her full support for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will be deliberated in Congress and for the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the law. “The creation of the Bangsamoro is an achievement itself by every Moro and non-Moro Indigenous Peoples.”
Cardinal Orlando Quevedo also gave a video message for the occasion where he expressed confidence that issues of indigenous peoples have been “sufficiently covered and dealt with” in the draft basic law.
Deles announced that the Office of the President and the BTC will submit the draft law to Congress next month. “The Office of the President has been working overtime to complete its review of the draft for submission and approval of the President and even the President has already been going over the draft himself,” Deles said.

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