Youth Commission lauds MILF decommissioning, backs passage of BBL

CAGAYAN DE ORO - The National Youth Commission (NYC) commended the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government (GPH) for the successful launch of the decommissioning program under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro ‎despite a delay in the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the peace pact's legal iteration.
 
The NYC reiterated its support for the Bangsamoro law as it noted that it promotes youth empowerment in the autonomous region.
 
"With the MILF’s manifestation of its commitment to end the long struggle in Mindanao during the decommissioning of firearms (and combatants) led by President Aquino, the National Youth Commission brings with it the unified voice of the youth in pushing for genuine peace through the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law," National Youth Commissioner for Mindanao Earl Saavedra said during a forum at Xavier University in this city attended by different youth groups and school publications from the region.
 
Saavedra also expressed hope that the enactment of the draft law would address the current issues and concerns of the Bangsamoro youth through active participation and proper sectoral representation in the government citing provisions  from the draft BBL.
 
"We see hope in curbing secessionism. The idea of inclusivity, shared prosperity and equal opportunities will also be evident as we help [the] Moro youth sector by maximizing their potentials," Saavedra said.
 
As presented in Article VII Section 12 of the House-approved Basic Law in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, the Bangsamoro policies and programs should consider the best interest of the child, non-discrimination, survival and development, protection and rights of the children which includes youth participation in the government.
 
Saavedra said that based on a recent study by the NYC that showed youth participation in the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is relatively low compared to other regions, the agency would propose a youth development plan to the Bangsamoro parliament expected to be elected in 2016.
 
“Institutionalizing the Bangsamoro Youth Development Plan will champion the interest, needs and concerns of the Moro youth," he remarked.
 
The NYC plan suggests youth inclusion in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority for proper representation in addressing the role of the youth in the normalization process. 
 
"The normalization process when the proposed BBL will be carried shall be equally essential to the youth since they will form part of the integral process and structures that will work for the best interest of the Bangsamoro people," Saavedra added. 
 
A proposal in the plan is the creation of the Bangsamoro Youth Commission as an institution that will uphold youth rights and cater to the issues, needs and concerns of the sector. 
 
Last May 20, the House Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law approved the inclusion of youth representation in the Parliament by amending Article VII, Section V of the draft BBL and defined age representation for the youth to be between 18-25 years old, taking into consideration ‎the MILF’s recommendation. ###