Today, we peace advocates and supporters gathered, take this occasion to mark the first public hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now lodged with Congress as House Bill 4994. This historic piece of legislation was birthed in conflict and nurtured in a hopeful peace. For many of us here today, the BBL holds a big part of Mindanao’s promise and destiny in its hands. We take the time and mark this day for what it has cost generations past, yet stand resolute and unbowed at the daunting task still ahead for all of us who are invested and engaged in these processes.
Our common and unifying desire for Mindanao and the country has long-remained the same. For us, HB 4994 with the effort to work with Congress the best expression of this hope and desire. We all continue to work for Mindanao and support calls for an inclusive peace, a just allocation of resources, due representation and powers, and a resolution process that addresses conflicts with justice, respect and equanimity. We now entrust to the members of Congress the task of finalizing this bill to merit its inclusion as one of the guiding laws of our land until the Bangsamoro peoples realize the fullest expression of self determination at its finest.
While we express our appreciation for the groundswell of support that continues to grow for this major piece of legislation – expressed by small rural communities in Mindanao, to the very halls of Malacanan and Congress, we continue to call for the continuing process of learning and education, informed study, deliberation and consensus to come up with an inclusive and perfected piece of legislation entrenching the negotiations consensus, and staking the peace for all its future citizens. All efforts must be undertaken by all of us, for this basic law to fulfill its promise in the Muslim region.