Friday, May 1, 2015

Bangsamoro autonomy is alternative to independence, war: Peace Council

From the Website of MILF

Bangsamoro autonomy is alternative to independence, war: Peace Council

  • Thursday, Apr 30 2015
The grant of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region through the Bangsamoro Basic Law is “alternative to independence or war,” Malacañang-convened Citizens Peace Council said in its BBL review report which was submitted to the House of Representatives on Monday.

The Council was composed of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Howard Dee and Muslim Princess Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman.

The report related that, “A total of 136 participants joined the discussions in one or more of the clusters reflecting these themes  and  separately  discussed  the  BBL  from  8-17  April  before  convening  for  the  National Peace Summit on 18 April 2015.”

“When reading  the  proposed  Bangsamoro  Basic  Law,  it  is  therefore  presumed  that  all  Constitutional powers  of  government    and  the  Constitutional  Commissions  and  bodies  remain  intact, regardless of whether the law explicitly provides for it or not,” the report said.

“There is no creation of a separate kind of citizen, and no creation, virtual or otherwise, of a political territory that is greater than the national government that creates it, or beyond the reach of the Constitution that allows it.”

“The grant of regional autonomy is an alternative to independence or secession.  But more than that, the establishment  of  the  Bangsamoro  Autonomous  Region  through  the  BBL  must  be  seen  as  an alternative  to  war.”

“Legislation,  therefore,  in  this  context,  should  be  seen  as  a  peace-building exercise.  Legislators are not only policy formulators, they become peace-builders,” underscored in the Peace Council’s finding.
It was further pointed out, “Autonomy  and  self-governance  is  not  equivalent  to  independence  or  statehood,” but rather,  “an acknowledgement  of  human  diversity  and  recognition  that,  despite  decades  of  trying,  the different  cultures  had  not  been  served  in  any  effective  way  by  the  national  government.”

“A law creating an Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, therefore, cannot  be  expected  to  reiterate  the  same  powers  or  structures  as  our  traditional  political subdivisions,” the report stated.
And thus, “To  expect  an  Autonomous  Region  to  behave  like  a  province  or  city  defeats  the purpose of autonomy.  Similarly, to treat the Autonomous Regions like other local government
units defeats the purpose of autonomy.”

To clarify the issue on secession, the Council rundown its explanation as follows:
The BBL  does  not  make  the  Bangsamoro  Government  a  state.  The  provisions  on “people,” “territory,” and “self-determination” do not imply the creation of a separate state,  but  are  consistent  with  the  constitutionally  mandated  creation  of  autonomous regions.

Though the Bangsamoro will have a territory, people and its own government, much  like  any  other  local  government  unit  in  the  Philippines,  it  remains  part  of  the republic as the BBL clearly declares.
An area with its own defined territory, jurisdiction, or  rules  does  not  make  that  territory  independent  from  its  parent  state.    Both  the Constitution  and  the  Local  Government  Code  refers  to  the  areas  of  local  government units as “territories”.

The inclusion of a definition of ‘Bangsamoro People’ in the BBL is only  an  affirmation  of  identity,  not  a  definition  of  citizenship.  The  right  of  self-determination  is  a  right  of  all  peoples  and  is  not  equivalent  to  the  right  to  statehood.

Self-determination  is  therefore  generally  understood  to  mean  what  our  own  Supreme
Court has described as “internal” self-determination.

President Aquino called for the creation of the peace council to study the BBL and help the public understand the proposed legislation that will pave way for the establishment of Bangsamoro autonomous region vested with more fiscal powers and stronger internal governance.