Amidst the optimism of attaining peace in Mindanao, the peace process is currently “caught in a conceptual deadlock.”
These were the words Atty. Johaira Wahab used during the round table discussion, “Conversations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law”, held at J301 last Wednesday afternoon.
The program aims to promote greater understanding of the Bangsamoro issues within the context of the University’s social formation framework.
Atty. Wahab said that the planned Bangsamoro Basic Law, upon the agreement of Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, will create a new political entity that will replace the ‘failed’ Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) established through RA 9054. This new law aims to fully give the Bangsamoro people their right to self determination and promote a lasting peace in Mindanao.
Though Wahab, a former commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, did not disclose the specifics of the Basic Law, she gave a brief review on the crafting process of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“While there may be a common text (referring to the Bangsamoro Basic Law draft), there might have been no common understanding,” she explained, expounding on the dissatisfaction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) over the draft.
Despite this, University President, Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, emphasized the role of the youth, especially of the student leaders’ and volunteers’ in the peace process in Mindanao.
“Mindanao’s future is yours,” Fr. Tabora said.
Arrupe Office of Social Formation organized the event. Notable participants in the discussion included Paolo Cansino, a researcher and alumnus of the University, Allexy Flores, the SAMAHAN treasurer, and Kahlil Denise Alcomendras, an Arrupe volunteer.
“I was so shocked because my co-students perceived the MILF as terrorists without realizing the plight that this organization, and the people they are representing, has undergone. It is sad because we, as Ateneans, are taught and formed to be Sui Generis leaders, leaders for Mindanao and fighters for social justice, and yet we generalize these people as terrorists,” Alcomendras said when she recalled the impressions of her classmates during a forum about the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro (FAB).
The program was also attended by members of the school administration, faculty, students and peace advocates.