MANILA, May 7, 2015 — Both Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI and former Constitutional Commission member Atty. Christian Monsod are positive the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be passed into law as legistlation acceptable to the Bangsamoro, Christians and indigenous people of Southern Philipines.
Speaking jointly before the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) Monday, the two conveners of the Friends of Peace said the BBL that would soon be passed would be “just and fair to everyone, from Moslems, Christians and indigenous people”, considering all the suggestions from the National Peace Council ,which earlier submitted their findings to the president, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“President Aquino said the report was very good,” Quevedo said. However, one of the country’s cardinals said the concerns about certain provisions that would affect the economy, constitutionality, security and social justice have been addressed.
Issue of constitutionality
The prelate appealed to lawmakers to pass the BBL with the necessary amendments because the salient provisions include the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and devolution have been identifind and subjected to deliberation.
“Everything should be within the framework of the countyr’s Constitution,” Quevedo added.
As far as former ConCom member, Monsod said the BBL is the fulfillment of constitutional mandates such as the creation of a Muslim Mindanao, one with full autonomy and greater powers, and enjoying the least intervention from the national government.
He also mentioned two important provisions of the Philippine Consitution of 1987, which have remained unimplemented.
“These issues are social justice and full human development,” Monsod said. He added the “worst failure” overtook the Bangsamoro because no social justice and total human development programs have been implemented.
While Quevedo said everything should be in consonance with the Philippine Constitution of 1987, Atty. Monsod said the BBL should be interpreted with liberality.
The prelate added that both Senate and Congress may use the “clarifying words” but anything what would “excise” certain terms would emasculate the BBL.
The provisions on the Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections “have already been included in the Organic Act of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“They are not alien, they’ve been already there and to remove them would truly emasculate the Bangsamoro and make it less autonomous than the present ARMM,” Cardinal Quevedo said.
Asked if the Mamasapano incident, which happened some four months ago, would take the “back seat” during Senate and House deliberations, Quevedo said he has included it in his prayers “when the legislators come together, wisdom for the common good and sobriety and rationality would prevail rather than emotions and passions and perhaps prejudices and biases that came up immediately after the violent incident.”
Ireland, South Africa
He likewise expressed optimism when legislators vote, they would realize and consider the merits of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” he added.
Monsod said during successful peace processes like in Ireland and South Africa there were violent instances during the homestretch as there are always “spoliers”. He noted that in South Africa, they killed the “most promising leader” and in Ireland, there were lots of killings connected to separate advocacies at that time.
“These transcended from these violent incidents and gave it reason for the peace process to proceed in order to avoid violence,” he said. He further said the Mamasapano incident was not the sole deplorable incident as there were a lot long before the BBL was even crafted.
Quevedo said the passage of the BBL would prevent future “Mamasapanos.” (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)