“Suportahan natin ito. Empathy is the key to BBL dahil mga Pilipino rin sila [Moro].” This is the final message of Ustadj Janor Balo—Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of the AB Islamic Studies of the Ateneo de Davao University, during his talk on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) last Monday, 26 February held at Arrupe Convention Hall, Ateneo de Naga University.
The Center for Community Development (CCD) spearheaded this event in collaboration with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), Ateneo de Davao University’s (ADDU) Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) and Al Qalam Institute of Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia. This 3-hour lecture series was attended by the faculty, staff and students in which they were able to know the salient points of the proposed BBL and why it should be passed in order to maintain peace in the country especially in Mindanao. Balo said that passing the BBL 1will establish a political entity and will provide [for its] basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the Bangsamoro people […].
He added that this proposed law will be an assistance in fighting violent extremism. Ayaw na natin mangyari muli ang nangyari sa Marawi [City], he said. Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), as he discussed, is pursuing peace and stability in Muslim through a negotiated political settlement to address 1) historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro, 2) minoritization and landlessness, 3) relative economic deprivation and underdevelopment (bring lag regions like the Bangsamoro at par with the other more developed regions in the country), 4) political and cultural marginalization as well as 5) the just aspirations of the Bangsamoro people for self-determination while preserving and strengthening the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. These are envisioned in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the basis for the BBL, and are further provided in the prosed BBL.
Aside from Moro, Lumad will also be recognized and will have an equal footing in the proposed entity. 2People will have a right to choose to identify themselves as Bangsamoro. It provides that those who, at the advent of the Spaniards, were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands including Palawan, and their descendants, whether of mixed or of full blood, shall have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro by ascription or self-ascription. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamor. 3It also states that the freedom of choice of other indigenous peoples shall be respected. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of identity, religion, and ethnicity.
This lecture series is part of the advocacy for peace in Mindanao and part of the efforts of the Philippines Jesuit Province’s Road to Mindanao.
by Alma Jane L. Babilonia
Photos Credits: Manuel Sambo IV
Source: Ustadj Janor Balo presentation
1 Bangsamoro Basic Law, Article I, Sec. 3.
2 Bangsamoro Basic Law, Article II, Sec. 1.
3 Bangsamoro Basic Law, Article II, Sec. 2.