PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) has been supporting the Peace Process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) since 2006.
Our support is based on a spiritual and theological conviction as a community of peace and reconciliation missionaries who follow Jesus of Nazareth. Our hope is ultimately based on a biblical view of the final justice and peace on earth when Christ, the Prince of Peace, will govern the world with genuine justice for all. In our worldview, the reality of this radical just-peace began with the Creation, marred but then redeemed. The Shalom reign of God was manifested during the first coming of Jesus Christ, and will be completed in his second coming. In this sense, the context of our peacebuilding mission is in the intersection of the ‘already’ and of the ‘not yet.’
It is this biblical hope that motivates us to call on our fellow Christians to repent, seek forgiveness, and correct our unjust actions, as well as to forgive, and to reconcile with, the people who treated us unjustly—in the past.
It is also this spiritual hope that energizes us to strive for just-peace in the present—including our support and advocacy for the on-going peace processes in the world, and in our country. This hope energizes us to continually support the peace process between the GPH and the MILF.
It is because of this hope that we say, “Peace is possible!” with much conviction and passion.
Our support is also based on our view of peace and reconciliation in the context of the historical injustices committed by the majority of the Filipinos against the Bangsamoro. The conflict in this land was brought about by a number of historical and social factors. One of them is a strong anti-Muslim bias by the majority Christian population of the Philippines. The 2005 Philippine Human Development Report says that in Metro Manila 57% residents will opt for residency in a place with higher rent so long as it is far from a Muslim community.
Another factor is the minoritization of the Moros due to the failure of the government to protect the Moro ancestral lands. Once the majority in Mindanao, the Moros now comprise only 22% of the population.
Also, the government failed to deliver basic services and the needed development to Moro communities. The 2005 Human Development Report shows that Muslim areas like Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan continue to suffer the highest poverty incidence.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law is a peaceful, nonviolent path to correct the historical injustices of the past. This is a means towards peace and reconciliation based on justice. Reconciliation, in the words of John Paul Lederach, includes “innovative ways to create a time and a place to address, to integrate, and to embrace the painful past and the necessary shared future as a means of dealing with the present.”
We’re happy that the GPH-MILF peace negotiation has reached a stage when a politically negotiated agreement, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), can be implemented through the work of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). Here is a copy of the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL 2017) submitted by the BTC last 17 July 2017 to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the Malacañang Palace, Manila. This time, the BBL is more inclusive, integrating the voices of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Indigenous People, and the Migrants.
We are hoping that this time, the Filipino people will read it first before passionatey (violently for some) making up their minds.
May the Creator-Sustainer of all humanity bless the Filipino population and our government — the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary — with a more mature socio-political discernment.