Thousands in North Cotabato express support for BBL
'Pass the Bangsamoro bill'
This was the call of around 2,000 constituents from the various municipalities of North Cotabato on Sunday, May 17.
A day before members of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) cast their votes, several groups converged in the town of Pigcawayan to express their support for the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The BBL aims to create an enhanced autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao with greater powers and resources. The Mamasapano clash which took place in January 2015, however, threatened to derail its approval.
According to Pigcawayan Mayor Herminio Roquero, the assembly aims to inform their constituents of the benefits that the BBL will bring to their communities.
"I support the peace initiatives of the government as this were designed to introduce developments to our people," Roquero added.
North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Talino-Mendoza also expressed support to the peace assembly, adding that it will serve as a venue to express and hear the aspirations of those proposed to become part of Bangsamoro.
“The coming together showed the support of Cotabateños to the sentiments, aspirations and desires of our 39 barangays considered as core territories in the Bangsamoro,” Taliño-Mendoza said.
Board Members Kelly Antao, Loreto Cabaya, Jr. and Eliseo Garcisa also joined the event and expressed their support to the peace initiatives.
“There are other sectors that sow incorrect information stating that the province and its leadership are not supportive to the proposed law for the Bangsamoro,” Antao pointed out.
Government peace panel chair Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer delivered the keynote speech during the assembly. She called on the people to rally behind the government’s peace efforts.
Ferrer emphasized that once the BBL is passed, a plebiscite will be facilitated in the 39 barangays in North Cotabato.
These barangays in Midsayap, Pikit, Carmen, Aleosan, Kabacan and Pigcawayan agreed to join the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in a plebiscite in 2001.
“Bibigyan uli ng pagkakataon ang mga tao sa mga barangay na ito, batay sa prinsipyo ng demokrasya, na tanungin at magdesisyon kung sila ay sasali ba sa itatatag na bagong Bangsamoro,” Ferrer said.
(The public will be given the chance to ask and decide, based on the principles of democracy, whether they will join the Bangsamoro.) -