Peace body to work in clusters

April 22, 2015 at 10:47


Peace body to work in clusters

BBL study focuses on justice, constitutionality, powers, economy, security

Nikko Dizon

Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:27 AM | Saturday, April 11th, 2015

The peace council formed by President Benigno Aquino III has begun to study the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a search for improvements that will ensure its passage by Congress.

A statement from the council released to the press on Friday quoted former Ambassador to the Holy See and Malta Howard Dee as saying at the council’s first meeting that their “overarching goal is peace with justice and development in Muslim Mindanao: A political peace settlement that addresses the injustices inflicted on the Bangsamoro religious, cultural and political identity as a people.”

“After all, they had their political identity before there was a Philippine nation,” Dee said.

Dee, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and youth leader Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman were the first community leaders invited by President Aquino to form the council that would study the proposed BBL.

Ayala presented an overview of the council’s role and objective at the group’s first meeting on April 6.

“He (Ayala) emphasized that the group is an independent body committed to helping the public understand what is at stake in the BBL, identify contentious issues, and help find a path toward reconciling divergent views,” the statement said.

Davide, according to the statement, said the “hard work begins after [the] BBL is passed.”

Human development

Dee said it was important to focus on “the human development of the Bangsamoro people by restoring their human rights and freedom to reverse their economic and social marginalization, which has resulted in a human poverty level that is about twice the national average.”

He emphasized the need to look at the “process of cultural and spiritual healing to overcome the deep-seated prejudices that continue to divide our people.”

The group agreed that “as an initial step,” it would organize the study of the BBL into four broad topics: Constitutionality and forms and powers of government; justice, including social justice and human development; economy and patrimony; and human security.

Davide will head the cluster that would look into the constitutionality of the BBL while Dee and Usman will cochair the group that will study the provisions on justice and human development.

Ayala will chair the cluster on economy and patrimony.

Tagle was unable to attend the council’s initial meeting. He was represented by San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.


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