Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace
Statement Supporting the Passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law
We, the Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace (JWGRLP), together with peace-loving leaders who participated in the “Forum on the Bangsamoro Basic Law and Religious Freedom: Toward a Just and Peaceful Mindanao,” held on July 7, 2018 at the Ramon Magsaysay Center in Manila, staunchly express support for the passage of a meaningful Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that embodies the just and peaceful aspirations of the people of Mindanao. We appeal to all our legislators to consider our position as they deliberate this coming week, from July 9-13, on the final version of the BBL.
As religious leaders, we the JWGRLP acknowledge that although religion was not the primary cause of the historical injustices committed in the Bangsamoro homeland, it has sadly played a part, for which reason we denounce any form of religious prejudice and support a person’s religious liberty as enunciated clearly in the BBL.
As advocates of peace and the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), we recognize the importance of previously signed agreements. Therefore, we are advocating for a BBL that is consistent with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
We believe that in view of the historical injustices suffered by the Bangsamoro people, the passage of the BBL will serve as an indispensable step toward healing the past. It is crucial that the BBL is seen in the context of moving constructively from acknowledging past mistakes toward building a much brighter future for the people of the Bangsamoro.
We firmly believe that the BBL provides the most realistic framework toward achieving a genuine self-determination for the Bangsamoro people, which was not realized adequately under the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Finally, we are convinced that the passage of the BBL will prevent the growth of violent extremism in our country, and significantly help in reducing the appeal of extremism to the younger generations who are disgruntled in Mindanao. The great devastation brought by extremists on the people of Marawi during the “Siege of Marawi” is not lost to us. We believe that with its passage, the BBL will be able to provide the best alternative to a life of violence—a life that is defined by peace, justice, progress, human development, stability and security for all within the Bangsamoro homeland.
:: Abdulhadie Butuan Gumander III
Cotabato Islamic Heritage Center, Inc.
Kinagatan, Kalanganan II, Cotabato City
:: Aldrin Penamora
The Evangelical Center, 62 Molave St.
Project 3, Quezon City