Bangsamoro pact, getting there but still steps away from Goal
Both the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf) said they are ready to settle the Bangsamoro question in a historic signing tomorrow at the Malacañan Palace.
The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (Cab) is the final peace agreement between GPH and the Milf. It will be used as basis for the drafting of a Bangsamoro Basic Law that will formalise the creation of a politically and economically autonomous Bangsamoro region.
Cab, a 5-page text, will put together all previous signed agreements, including the Normalisation Annex signed early this year. Once signed, the Cab will protect the integrity of all the previous agreements, end fighting between GPH and Milf and recognise the legitimacy of the Bangsamoro people’s call for autonomy.
The signatories for the GPH will be Chair of the Government Peace Panel Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and panel members and consultants while signatories for Milf will be led by Mohager Iqbal. Malaysian Facilitator Tengku Dato’ Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohamed will also sign the agreement that will be witnessed by President Benigno Aquino III, Milf Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and others.
The signing of the agreement will be done in the presence of 1,000 people in the Palace.
To celebrate the signing of Cab, there are activities at the Grand Mosque in Quiapo, Mendiola Bridge and Burnham Green, Luneta from Tuesday to Thursday. Artists from Mindanao will be showcased in cultural performances. There will also be a photo exhibit on the history of Moro peace. Tomorrow a kite flying event called ‘Kites for Peace’ will take place in Luneta which is supported by OFWs for Peace.
Once again, GPH chief negotiator Coronel-Ferrer emphasised the significance of Cab for the country to ‘[pursue] its unfinished task of nation-building.’ She added that Cab will serve as inspiration for countries that are also facing internal struggles similar to the Philippines.
‘[The Cab is] a partnership between the Bangsamoro and the Philippine government, between and among peoples of different faiths and ethnicity, and between men and women,’ she said.
However, she also emphasised the importance of moving on after signing the agreement to the more important task of full implementation. The next step after Cab is the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that still needs to be passed by Congress.
But Coronel-Ferrer is optimistic about the Bangsamoro pact if everyone works toward peace: ‘together, we can make it all happen. Together, we can make peace, not war.’