Peace panel chief: Bangsamoro ‘constitutional’

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (May 28, 2015) — Peace process chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer reiterates today here at the AFP Central Command in Lahug that the creation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law has no legal impediments.

Why is the Bangsamoro constitutional? Ferrer, through a presentation, pointed out that the creation of the Bangsamoro is provided for in the Philippine Constitution. She cited Article 10, Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution stating that “there shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”

The creation of the Bangsamoro will follow a legislative process with the enactment of an organic act and its ratification in the core territory, this was the second point.

The third reason why Bangsamoro does not leap beyond legal parameters is that it follows the Constitution’s provision on legislative powers of an autonomous region while upholding national sovereignty of the Philippines.

“There is no substate. In fact, mahirap i-define kung ano talaga ang substate,” Ferrer stressed. “What Bangsamoro is is similar to the creation of ARMM only that we are granting to Moros their right to self-determination but still they are under one Philippines.

“Hindi naman buong Mindanao ‘to. The framework is actually for Central Mindanao. We recognize also the division among Moro groups, and that it takes two provinces to form an autonomous region. The salient points of the draft provide for a Bangsamoro government that is parliamentary and democratic. It will never be a separate state. It will remain under Philippine sovereignty.”

She cited Article 10 of Section 20 of the 1987 Constitution that “within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous region shall provide for the legislative powers over: administrative organization; creation of sources of revenues; ancestral domain and natural resources; personal, family, and property relations; regional urban and rural planning development; economic, social, and tourism development; educational policies; preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and such other matters as may be authorizd by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region.”

Further, a ministerial form of government in the Bangsamoro is allowed under the Philippine Constitution. Based on Art. 10 of Sec. 15 “the organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units.”

“The Bangsamoro is a secular government, not an Islamic state,” Ferrer added. “We should give peace a chance. We should allow Bangsamoro to demonstrate its sincerity, more than a process of decommissioning of arms; allow them to prove they have respect for the basic rights of all.”###

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Tribe bae: No to BBL

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #netizenmedia

caption: Bae Makabulig (Ritalinda Lipiahan), a former supervisor of SM Malls in Manila, is now right hand of Datu Lolong, national chairman of Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation. The couple is seen here on their way to Sitio Tamusan, Brgy. Capehan, Libona town, Bukidnon for a tribal assembly. The children are residents of Tamusan.

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, NORTHERN MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES — “We say no to the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We can’t trust some Muslims; they have this culture of reprisal or vendetta (rido) that it’s best to trust only when they are dead,” so states Bae Makabulig (Ritalinda Lipiahan), wife of Datu Lolong (Dencio S. Lipiahan, Sr.) prior to our ritual in line with our membership to the Higaonon tribe on April 2 (Maundy Thursday) as migrants (bilaw or non-lumad bloodline).

A “bae” is a title given to a wife of a datu, the chieftain here of a Higaonon tribe. These two are trusted community leaders.

“I say that we can’t trust all Muslims because when they are angry, lisod kaayo na sila. Pag masuko, rido gyud na. Higaonons value peace. In fact, we are the most peace-loving people of all tribes here. We had only engaged in war when we really were left with no choice. But currently we have worked so hard on promoting economic sustainability as we battle continuously for the preservation of tribal reservation areas,” Bae Makabulig underscored.

Higaonons value promotion of social justice system: recognizing the rights of individuals, protecting and preserving their culture, traditions and institutions.

When Datu Lolong, national chairman of the Talugan Ta Tagoloan-Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation, was asked on reported armed movements recruiting Higaonons, he said that warfare and uprisings are decided by the Council of Datus. As for now, they bank on the various peace treaties forged by their elders such as the Treaties of Dawa (the right to alliance or association), as well as Durian (the right to self-determination under a national government).

“Our laws and peace treaties complement the provisions of Philippine Constitutions – 1935 and 1987 – that we are to unite tribes and to engage in peace processes, no matter how long and painstaking,” the datu added.

“One’s works speak well of one’s motives. How can the Bangsamoro attest to campaigning for peace but preparing, at the same time, for war? The act gives us the hint on how to course our judgment for the welfare of indigenous people here. We will decide what to do with these revolutionary groups when time comes,” the datu accentuated.

For now, they are not bothered by the recruitment activities as consultations between government troops and Higaonons reportedly harassed by revolutionary groups are ongoing. The last talk was held at Camp Evangelista last March 26 and 27 in Patag, Cagayan de Oro City.

Somehow, a culture of deceit is evident in the use of aliases by negotiators from the MILF camp. Mohagher Iqbal, for one, refuses to disclose his real identity, saying it is “normal for them to be carrying various names and monikers.”

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. led the questioning on Iqbal’s person, but failed to squeeze out substantial information.###