MANILA, 14 May 2015— The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law cannot ensure peace but it is an “alternative” for all stakeholders who are fed up with the wars in Southern Philippines, a senior churchman said.
Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo made a new pitch for BBL while the House of Representatives defer voting on the proposed measure supposedly set this week.
The Oblate cardinal said BBL will not end all armed conflict due to “rido” or land disputes and small groups will continue to fight for secession.
“But the BBL is the alternative for the greatest majority of the Bangsamoro and for our own military and security forces who are tired of war,” Quevedo said in a statement.
“It is the alternative to radicalization and extremism now spreading towards Southeast Asia and creeping into our shores,” he said.
Quevedo said the fate of the BLL is now in the hands of the lawmakers whose legislative role should be “eminently one of peacemaking”.
The legislators, he said has two options: either ignore the 17 years of peacemaking efforts by emasculating the BBL or strengthen it.
The cardinal, who is a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said the legislators should not allow the “aspiration of self-determination becomes once more a hollow dream”.
“To approve a BBL that is lesser than the Organic Act of the ARMM and falls short of self-determination as liberally granted by the Constitution is to perpetuate social injustice and human underdevelopment,” he said.
“To approve a BBL, strengthened by legislative wisdom, and preserving substantively the letter and spirit of the proposed BBL leads to social justice, peace and human development,” Quevedo added.
Quevedo is among the vocal supporters of the BBL in the Catholic hierarchy.
On Monday, the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL will again convene to supposedly vote on the provisions of the bill. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)