BOL viewed an inclusive law, instrument for normalization

By Francis Wakefield

The Bangsamoro Organic Law is an inclusive law that will provide equal protection to all constituents in the region and not just one sector.

Undersecretary Nabil Tan (OPAPP / MANILA BULLETIN) Undersecretary Nabil Tan (OPAPP / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was emphasized by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Nabil Tan as he spoke to more than 100 officials of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 who participated in the Information Education and Communication campaign on the Bangsamoro Organic Law, Normalization Track, and Ceasefire Mechanism at the Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 headquarters in General Santos City.

“The Bangsamoro Organic Law is a product of 17 years of peace negotiations with the MILF. But this is not just for the MILF. This is a law envisioned to be inclusive,” Tan said.

He said the Indigenous Peoples, Christians, women, and youth sectors will have allotted seats in the Bangsamoro parliament.

In his presentation, Assistant Secretary for Peace and Security and chair of the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) Dickson Hermoso presented important portions of the normalization track.

He said normalization is one of the annexes of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB),.a final peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, signed in 2014.

Hermoso also said through the normalization process, MILF combatants will be decommissioned and will return to peaceful life and can pursue sustainable livelihood.

Normalization will also transform six acknowledged MILF camps (Abubakar-as-Siddique, Omar, Rajamuda, Bad’r, Bushra, and Bilal) into peaceful and productive communities through socio-economic and development support.

The event in General Santos City is part of OPAPP’s Information, Education, and Communication campaign together with the Philippine National Police. The aim is to brief the security sector on the status of the Bangsamoro Peace Process and different mechanisms under the CAB.

The next round of the IEC will be held today (July 30, 2018) at the Police Regional Office ARMM in Parang, Maguindanao.

DND Welcomes BBL

The Department of National Defense (DND welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Thursday.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said they are optimistic that the landmark legislation will usher in a new era of peace in Mindanao.

"We now begin the very important step of implementing the provisions of the new law, including the decommissioning of MILF fighters, and the possible integration of qualified individuals to the AFP and PNP," Lorenzana said.

"The DND is ready to assist our fellow Filipinos in the Bangsamoro to start their lives anew, heal the wounds of conflict, and end our people's divisiveness after decades of fighting," he added.

Lorenzana said with the expected development of commerce, trade, and industry in the region, and increased delivery of government services to communities, he is confident that the root causes of violent extremism and terrorism, such as poverty, lack of education, and social injustice will be adequately addressed.

"I now call on the remaining groups still fighting the government to follow the path of peace just like the MILF and MNLF.," Lorenzana said.

"Through our localized peace efforts, we remain committed to achieve peace, even with members of the Communist Terrorist Group, and pursue the peace agenda of our President who is walking the extra mile to unite the people as one nation," he added.

The defense secretary said thousands of former communist rebels have returned to their families to live their lives in peace with the help of government programs such as the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.

Lorenzana said together with their brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro, "We will show the world that violence and terror do not have a place in our communities, and as Filipinos we can work together to achieve just and lasting peace."