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OPAPP lauds 35 solons pushing for BBL passage

MANILA, PNA -- Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles lauded the 35 congressmen who expressed full support for the swift passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a press statement last March 18.

“We laud and fully support the efforts of our valiant legislators who see and recognize the need for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, especially because this important piece of legislation is a step towards finally resolving the decades-long conflict in Muslim Mindanao,” Deles said.

“We understand that the statement was issued by legislators not only from Mindanao, but from Visayas and Luzon as well, along with representatives from party-list groups,” Deles added. “This only shows how broad the clamor for peace is, and we are heartened to see that our legislators recognize that clamor and that they are prepared to fight for it even if that may not be a popular position to take right now.”

The solons’ expression of support for the BBL coincided with the 47th commemoration of the Jabidah Massacre in Corregidor, which is widely recognized as a key cause of the current armed conflict in Mindanao.

“We call for peace. We reiterate our support and continue to call for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and we assure the Filipino public that we will do everything in our power to make sure that it will pass,” their statement reads.

“We as legislators understand, perhaps more than anyone, that a law cannot automatically guarantee peace,” it adds. “However, we believe this is a step—the only step we have now—in the right direction. Otherwise, we can only imagine a future of more Mamasapanos, more Jabidahs. That is not the future we want, and it is our duty as Representatives of the Filipino people to make sure this does not happen.”

The statement was signed by representatives Henedina Abad, Francis Gerald Abaya, Malou Acosta-Alba, Nicasio Aliping, Jorge Almonte, Isagani Amatong, Benjamin Asilo, Kaka Bag-ao, Teddy Baguilat, Pangalian Balindong, Bolet Banal, Kit Belmonte, Winnie Castelo, Joaquin Chipeco, Jr., Sonny Collantes, Ronald Cosalan, Arthur Defensor, Jr., Anthony del Rosario, Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, Edgar Erice, Ben Evardone, Lawrence Fortun, Jim Hataman-Salliman, Doy Leachon, JC Rahman Nava, Josephine Ramirez-Sato, Rene Relampagos, Oscar Rodriguez, Cesar Sarmiento, Bai Sandra Sema, Eric Singson, Jerry TreƱas, Reynaldo Umali, Isidro Ungab, and Maricar Zamora.

The 35 solons also issued a call to their colleagues even as a manifesto to reschedule the hearings on the BBL is being circulated by some of the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro, highlighting the need to act swiftly on the proposed law.

“We have the opportunity to begin stopping all these, right here and right now. And so we call on our colleagues to take the high road of statesmanship in these difficult times,” the statement said.

“The Bangsamoro Basic Law must and will undergo intense scrutiny in Congress—but let us remember that we have to pass a law that remains faithful in substance to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, not because of what it is or who forged that agreement, but because we believe doing so is the only way to ensure the law we pass will provide a real and lasting solution for Mindanao and the country,” it adds.

“To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, we are here to remind the nation of the fierce urgency of NOW,” the solons added in their statement. “We have no more time left to lose: all these injustices, this armed conflict, have gone for far too long now. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to sit together as a nation and resolve our differences. Now is the time to boldly make our choice for a future of justice, a future of prosperity, a future of peace. Our people ask for nothing more, and they deserve nothing less.”

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