CBCS Attends Regional Workshop on Economic, Social (ESC) Rights

Participants during the regional Workshop on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

Participants during the regional Workshop on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

October 23, 2015 – The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Inc (CBCS) represented by Sammy Maulana, Noraisa Sally and Lolita Uka attended the Regional Workshop on Economic, Social (ESC) Rights at Sardonyx Plaza, Cotabato City.

The forum provides venue to discuss and share information for additional inputs and case updates mentioned on the Philippine Government’s Periodic Report on the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights which has been transmitted to the UN Economic and Social Council.

During the forum each participating organization shared their accomplishments in terms of social, economic, and cultural aspect. Mr. Sammy Maulana, an old time human rights defender and Secretary General of CBCS had briefly discussed and shared the accomplishments of CBCS from 2002 to present. Here are the gists of what Mr. Maulana shared. CBCS has been in charge of empowering the people in the Bangsamoro area in order for them to rise up and defend for their own rights, aside from that CBCS also is promoting the human rights and monitoring HR violations in the help of the local volunteers the Tiyakap Kalilintad. In addition, he added that CBCS was primarily involve in the Good Governance and Responsive Leadership as the watchdog in the ARMM reform agenda, monitors the election with other election stakeholders, and monitors the ARMM infrastructure. Further, aside from the Good Governance CBCS has been active in accompanying the GPH-MILF Peace process and did some consultations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the Western Provinces. In terms of Economic aspects, CBCS has been involved in the relief goods operation and emergency response which started during the MOA-AD in 2008 until the recently armed conflict brought by the Mamasapano siege in 2015. On the cultural aspect CBCS has been actively engaging the MORO-IP kinship and involve in bridging the gap between the tri-people in Mindanao. Lastly, CBCS has also been active in Peace building by means of conflict management, resolution and transformation.

Thus, he also appeal to the CSOs and NGOs present in that gathering to help in empowering the people in ARMM so that even without the intervention from agencies they can stand on their own. Further, he challenged the people from the Commission on Human Rights to delete the names of the fake claimant of the Martial Law victims.

MIND DA NEWS: Heed Those Statements

By Patricio P. Diaz on August 20 2015 6:39 pm

[Author’s Note: Mind da News, the alternate of COMMENT in MindaNews, is a comment on current news. The author may be contacted at [email protected]]

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 Aug) – The leaders of the Congress, the Palace and the President, especially, must heed the latest statements from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concerning the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Those statements are an earnest appeal to review the government policies and commitments on meaningful autonomy to solve the Moro Problem and to reexamine the legislative actions now being taken by the Congress on the BBL, the agreed measure to implement these policies and commitments.

House leaders – and more so will Senate leaders do – have flatly denied the petition of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission for the restoration of the provisions deleted from the original Draft BBL, at least 28 in HB 4994 now HB 5811. The BTC members led by its chairman Mohagher Iqbal were told “over and over again” that restoring the deletions will risk the BBL’s nullification by the Supreme Court on ground of constitutionality.
The Senate and the House leaders should not take the BTC – by extension the MILF and Government peace panels – as simpletons. They know whereof they stand and what they are talking about.

In its August 17, 2015 editorial, “From BBL to BAR”, Luwaran, the MILF Central Committee website, stated: “Another important point to stress is that both government and MILF have seen to it that the BBL does not contain any provision repugnant to the Constitution. The BBL has passed through various discussions including long sessions with constitutional experts like Fr. Joaquin Bernas, former Supreme Court Justice Hilario Davide Jr., and many others to ensure that it is compliant to the Constitution.”

We will discuss this in our forthcoming comments. Suffice it now to say that a close comparison of Draft BBL and the two substitute bills, HB 5811 and SB 2498 (SB2894), would show that most of the provisions deleted or revised are not unconstitutional but, due to the political self-interest, pro-status quo biases and anti-Moro biases and prejudices of House representatives and senators, are unacceptable. We will discuss these later.

The honesty and sincerity of the authors of Draft BBL – the peace panels and the drafters – to have a Bangsamoro Basic Law compliant to the 1987 Constitution, as well as to relevant existing laws, and their eagerness and resoluteness to have the deleted provisions of Draft BBL restored must not be dismissed. In the same vein, that MILF top leaders are wary of regrettable consequences should be properly appreciated.

The latest MILF statements in the Luwaran editorial and news report follow:
Besides defending the constitutionality of Draft BBL, the Luwaran August 17 editorial, “From BBL to BAR”, is a commentary on the change by “both the House and the Senate” of the original “Bangsamoro Basic Law” to “Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” with emphasis on the connotation of “BAR” in the acronym “BLBAR”.

On the reason for the change: “Their arguments hinged on stressing the autonomous character of the entity, as indetachable part and parcel of the Philippine state. They want to erase any hint of so-called substate status for the Bangsamoro new entity and, finally, any justification for secession. Fear has now become the prime enemy of peace through the BBL.”

The fallacy: “Well and good! But … never in signed agreements, much more the BBL itself, [is there] any hint that the BBL does not seek to establish an autonomous entity, real and functional one. But alas! Both the House and Senate versions will only establish an entity lower than the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).”

On the acronym “BAR”: After explaining the history of BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), the editorial stated how the “imposed wars from the Spanish period to the advent of the Americans in the 19th century and onto the declaration of Martial Law in 1972 have compelled the Moros to defend and arm themselves or perish”. Then, the revelation: “It is only now under the Aquino dispensation that they see the peace process as genuine.”
Symbolism and reminder: “Perchance, the legislators failed to realize how strong the effects of symbolism in determining the mindsets and attitudes of people. By using BAR, it continuously reminds the Moros of their martial history as an unconquered people and the BAR as a very reliable weapon in their wars with government forces in early 70s.”

What many lawmakers refused to heed: “… In fact, they seemed to have ignored it at all. The BBL is designed to solve the Bangsamoro Problem or Question, which is the only agenda of the GPH-MILF peace negotiations way back in 1997. They overstressed the so-called constitutional infirmities of the BBL, which are disputed by other people including lawyers.”

MILF will reject: “What then is the use of a law passed by Congress only to prolong the miseries and sufferings in Mindanao, because it violated the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – and the MILF is forced to reject it? Come to think of this, dear anti-original BBL solons?” (Bold italics ours.)
The editorial states points for the Congress as well as the President to urgently consider:

First: The alleged reason for the change of “BBL” to “BLBAR” is “to erase any hint of so-called substate status for the Bangsamoro” – a manifestation of unfounded fear if BBL is read closely.
Second: But “BAR” will perpetuate rather than erase the memories of the bitter wars and injustices in the minds of the Moros. This is not the road to peace.

Third: In ignoring the real purpose of the BBL and overstressing BBL’s “so-called constitutional infirmities”, the Congress will pass a BBL the MILF will reject. That will prolong the miseries and suffering in Mindanao.
Luwaran.com is the official website of the MILF Central Committee on Information. Luwaran editorials reflect the thinking and position of MILF. The present editorial reiterates the thinking and position in the several editorials posted lately.

The news report, “Government answerable to international community if congress fails to pass good BBL”: MILF Chief Negotiator Iqbal, by Arland Abubakkar and posted August 17, 2015, features the statements of Iqbal when he spoke at the forum “Peace at last” organized by the Moro Christian People’s Alliance and the Pilgrims of Peace held at the National Council of Churches facility in Quezon City.

Of the national media, only The Manila Times reported the event on August 15. Like the Luwaran report, that of the Times mentioned no date of the event – only referring to it as “in a recent forum”. All the social media comments in the Times scorned Iqbal.
Iqbal’s salient points:

Item: “Ninety-nine percent of the international community is supporting the passage of a good BBL. If the MILF does not accept the BBL, the government will have to answer to the international community.”

Iqbal: Stating the international community’s “a deep involvement” in the peace negotiations, he said: “The international community would take the government to task if war breaks out,” – a reminder, not necessarily a warning, of the possible resurgence of war from hot-head rebels.
Item: When he said, “We will have the moral ascendancy if the exit agreement is not signed…We will blame and shame the GPH for not complying with agreements signed by both parties”, did he mean the obligation of MILF to join the international community in blaming the government?

Item: He told his audience of “the exit agreement, the final document to be signed by the two parties, and to be validated by the third party monitoring team, headed by former European Commission envoy to the Philippines Alistair McDonald”. The signing of the exit agreement signifies the end of the Peace Negotiation. Iqbal implied that MILF can reject the BBL passed by the Congress by not signing the exit agreement.

Item: He reiterated that the MILF will not accept a BBL based on HB 5811 and SB 2498. The first is “50 percent bad” and “lower than the ARMM” or the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao; the second, worse than the first, has most of the original provisions of Draft BBL either deleted or amended.
The Luwaran editorial and news report reiterated the MILF resolve not to accept a BBL based on HB 5811 and SB 2498 unless the 28 provisions deleted from HB 4994 are restored into HB 5811. The Congress and the Palace must study this seriously and act.

But there is a stalemate here. The House has flatly rejected the petition of the MILF and the BTC; it means no room for compromise. Even if the House would, MILF top leaders, from Chairman Murad, have repeatedly stated MILF has nothing more to compromise.

The government appears amenable to a BBL based on HB 5811 – meaning, SB 2498 must adopt HB 5811. This can be gleaned from the statement of government chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer that “passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before President Aquino’s term ends will benefit the next administration” (The Philippine Star, August 19, 2015: Ferrer: BBL passage to benefit next administration) and other recent statements from the Palace.

However, asking the Senate to adopt the House version is an impossible proposition. Will the government accept a compromise version of the House and Senate bills?

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. expressed optimism the House of Representatives will be able to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law next month (The Philippine Star, August 20, 2015: SB confident House can pass Bangsamoro law next month). He met with leaders of the parties belonging to the majority coalition last Tuesday to ensure the quorum during the plenary. The lack of quorum has been hampering the legislation.
He said that HB 5811 “is somewhat close” to SB 2498. It would be easier for the House and the Senate “to reconcile their respective versions once they are approved and brought to the bicameral conference committee”. If the Senate can pass its bill in September and Belmonte makes good his assurance, there is the possibility of BLBAR to be signed by the President before the Congress goes on recess on October 10.

That BLBAR will be acceptable to the Supreme Court. Chances are that President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III will sign it. But unless they soften their position, the MILF will reject that BLBAR.

Then come the paradox and the “lose-lose” proposition. Of what good is that BLBAR that is acceptable to the Supreme Court; that the President will accept; but that the MILF will reject? What will the international community say?

Mindanaoan.com shortlisted in 2015 Globe Media Excellence Awards

The post Mindanaoan.com shortlisted in 2015 Globe Media Excellence Awards appeared first on Mindanaoan.com Multi Awarded Lifestyle Blog.

A total of 58 entries were shortlisted for various categories of the Globe Media Excellence Awards (GMEA), the most anticipated premier award-giving body that gives recognition to excellence in journalism in Mindanao. The premier award-giving body which recognizes excellence in journalism from the best breed of scribes in Visayas and Mindanao, the awards gives recognition to print, broadcast, and digital media practitioners who have excelled in their respective fields. Awards night for the GMEA Mindanao leg will be held on November 17. “The number of entries that we received this year is a testament to the commitment of media practitioners

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OXFAM delegation pays courtesy call to BTC

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Cotabato City – On Wednesday, October 28, the Philippine-based Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM), an international non-government organization paid courtesy call to the office of Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Cotabato City to seek, explore issues and concerns on the current status of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) submitted to President Benigno Aquino III on September 10, 2014 at Malacañan Palace, Manila.

MILF Peace Panel Chair and also Chair of the BTC Mohagher Iqbal and some BTC Commissioners welcomed the OXFAM delegation headed by Justin Morgan, Philippines’ Country Director of the organization.

Chairman Iqbal admitted that passing a good BBL is difficult at this moment due to lack of time and the coming in of election period where lawmakers are already busy preparing for their political campaign.

Iqbal said the BTC drafted BBL no longer exist and was substituted by the Basic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BL-BAR) authored by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. in the House of Senate.

Another watered-down version of the BBL in the House of Representatives is also subject for interpolation when congress resumes session next month.

Iqbal disclosed that “80% of the original BBL was deleted in the Marcos’ version of BBL”

He also cited two critical points; first is that the MILF will not accept a diluted or bad BBL, and second, the change of administration in the government.

“We are doing our best for the success of BBL during the current administration”, Iqbal added.

When asked with a hypothetic question on dealing with the fiasco and frustration on the ground due to the possibility of congress passing a not good BBL, the MILF Chief negotiator said that, “The MILF will continue to educate and advocate the importance of holding the path of peace and to come up with initiatives and appropriate options for the continuity of the peace process”.

Iqbal further emphasized various possible scenarios, “having good BBL as the best case scenario; no BBL is passed; and the worse scenario is if bad BBL is passed; or when FAB and CAB are declared unconstitutional”.
Morgan thanked the BTC for welcoming the group.

OXFAM is an international confederation of 17 organizations network in more than 94 countries.

UNYPAD Cotabato City Chapter Conducts Community Forum

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Migz Zubiri to run for Senate anew, as Poe-Chiz guest candidate

The post Migz Zubiri to run for Senate anew, as Poe-Chiz guest candidate appeared first on Mindanaoan.com Multi Awarded Lifestyle Blog.

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UNYPAD Conducts Community Security Training Workshop

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UNYPAD’s USM Chapter Conducts Series of Islamic Symposiums during Ramadhan

By: Omar A. Mohamad KABACAN, North Cotabato (July 30, 2015)—The University of Southern Mindanao (USM) School-based chapter of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) conducted series of Ramadhan Islamic Symposiums in the school campus dubbed as “weekly ramadhan symposium.” “The objective of the activity was not only to impart knowledge about what is

UNYPAD Ranao Region hosts 3-Community Symposiums during Ramadhan

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