Friday, April 17, 2015

BBL a holistic approach to end poverty and conflict: Malacañang

From the Website of MILF

BBL a holistic approach to end poverty and conflict: Malacañang

 BBL a holistic approach to end poverty and conflict: Malacañang
On April 11, Malacañang continue to defend and push for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), calling it a “holistic approach” to end poverty and conflict in Mindanao.

Amidst a report by an international group on alleged “new cases of violence”, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte renewed Malacañang for the enactment of the BBL, while downplaying the new alleged cases of violence.

Sen. Francis Escudero called on the administration’s attention to the report “Rebellion, Political Violence and Shadow Crimes in the Bangsamoro: The Bangsamoro Conflict Monitoring System (BCMS) 2011-2013” prepared by the International Alert.

Valte said the root causes of poverty must be addressed, as poor areas had always been the breeding ground for recruits for the armed groups.

She said the government launched the Sajahatra Bangsamoro to ensure that the needs of people in Mindanao were being addressed, not just in terms of funding.

“We believe that the services of government must trickle down to the people in these areas, regardless of affiliation. So, you know, it’s really addressing the root causes of poverty that will help us move forward, and we believe that giving these areas a different structure, in the sense that they are going to have genuine autonomy and not just...on paper,” Valte said, adding the system in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao must be fixed as it had been politicized for a long time.

Valte said the International Alert study was partly funded by World Bank and that according to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the organization had been a long time partner in peace advocacy of the Philippines and is a member of the International Contact Group.

“But one notable part of the report is that it has very interesting data on the conflict in areas of Mindanao, such that it identifies new causes of violence and not just the old roots of conflict in Mindanao,” Valte said.
“So at least the data is very useful for our peace process policymakers, such that they can see the data needed to craft laws... But another point that we wish to make is that the report itself says – and I quote – ‘without a doubt, ending the conflict as a major source of rebellion-related violence retires a significant source of political violence with huge costs in terms of death, injury and displacement, and will impact positively on the prospects of peace and stability across the Bangsamoro.’ Those are the pertinent parts of the report,” she said.

The report said immediate steps should also be taken to address the violence emanating from new threat groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups and organized crime groups.

The transitional authority and the new political entity in the Bangsamoro would have to mitigate the risk of these groups disrupting the transition process, it said.

“Remember that the peace between (the government) and MILF means peace with the largest and most organized armed group, which has been fighting the government for decades,” Valte said.

“So to end this armed conflict means that this organized armed body ceases to fight with government and instead becomes a partner in addressing the problems that are facing the country, and of course, which include problems of lawlessness. So it enables the effective exercise of the rule of law over areas previously outside the reach of government and some quarters would say, ‘ungovernable” areas,” she added.

Valte said groups wanting to talk peace must be distinguished from lawless elements with selfish motives.
The passage of the proposed BBL was stalled after the January 25 Mamasapano tragic incident that killed 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force, 17 MILF combatants and 3 civilians.

Meanwhile, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala – one of the convenors of the National Peace Council said they would make sure the body remains independent in tackling contentious issues in the peace process with Muslim rebels, including disagreements over the BBL.

Zobel made the assurance during the first meeting of the council held at Intercontinental Hotel last Tuesday.
He said the council would try to help the people understand what is at stake in the approval or rejection of the BBL.

He said the council acknowledges the daunting challenges facing the country in its pursuit of peace. Also being addressed are historical prejudices and biases.

Other members of the Peace Council include former ambassador Howard Dee, former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Sr., Bishop Antonio Tagle and Muslim youth and civic leader Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman.