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Forum on Peace Process and on 2016 Elections

Kazalimbago Movement head Samira Gutoc-Tomawis stresses a point 
during the Forum on the Peace Process and the National and Local
Elections of 2016 held at theIPDM, Mindanao State University Marawi
City. Others in photo are (from left) Assistant Secretary Amenodin Cali, 
left, Dr. Guimba Poingan and BGen. Roosevelt Radiaganding.. RSO

By PHIL PA-ALAN and ROCAYA SUMNDAD OTICAL
Marawi City

A consultative meeting on the peace process and the 2016 national and local elections was conducted at the MSU-IPDM Convergence Hall, here last November 18, 2015 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM to explore and formulate a common agenda and action plan that will realize for the Bangsamoro a meaningful participation and involvement in the forthcoming 2016 national and local elections, not as political candidates, but as stakeholders in the democratic governance of the province, region and country.

The consultative meeting was organized by the Ranao Watch for Empowerment Network (RAWATEN), Inc. and participated in by over thirty (30) participants coming from various organizations and walks of life, who are friends, partners and allies. The consultation also attempts to elicit from the participants ideas on how the people can help ensure a free, orderly, honest, and credible elections and on how they can put the elections to maximum use and relevance in attaining the interest of our people for justice, development and security.

Chairman Bobby M. Abbas of RAWATEN, Inc. said, “ We hope we can come up with our own agenda in participative governance and draw from the participants ideas on their vision of the Bangsamoro in the next six (6) years. He said at present the participation of NGOs in governance is very limited as only those organizations who have completed two (2) to three (3) years audited reports of their operations are qualified which makes the requirements for participation stringent. He said these groups are normally big organizations leaving the small organizations at the background.

Vice Chair Adelaida Ditucalan of RAWATEN, Inc. said the peace process has its own road map before the realization of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). She said in the event that the BBL will not be passed and the election is forthcoming, what assurance do we have that the troubles here will be prevented? She said we want to come up with ways on how we can help President Aquino on the ‘Matuwid Na Daan’ program together with the BBL. She asked, “What is in store for us if the BBL will not be realized now? She encouraged the people to participate, go out and vote to sustain the peace process.

Atty. Khalid Ansano, a member of RAWATEN, Inc. said the forum attempts to know the reaction of the participants and what’s in their minds regarding the peace process or the BBL and their stand, as he encouraged the people to support the BBL as it is a good beginning and would pave the way for the attainment of what the Muslims want for the Bangsamoro area. He also encouraged the people to participate in the elections.

Assistant Secretary Amenodin Cali said that the forum intends to get the feelers from the participants on what agenda can be presented to the ruling party. He said the MOA-AD failed because of technical problems and lack of consultations with the people, particularly the grassroots. He added that the BBL had some legal loopholes , thus requiring a review to conform with the Constitution. He said the BBL is the best instrument to attain peace in Mindanao. He encouraged the people to participate in the coming national and local polls.

Dr. Guimba Poingan, a retired Professor VI of the Mindanao State University (MSU) said, “The BBL is the most comprehensive attempt of the government to solve the Mindanao problem.”

He added, “We will take this opportunity to have it realized, and even if the BBL will not be approved within the road map schedule, still we need the support of the incoming president for implementation, as he encouraged the young people to make wise decision to select among the ‘presidentiables’ in the coming 2016 elections, who will support the passage and implementation of the BBL.”

Also present during the forum were former regional assemblywoman Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, retired col. Roosevelt Radiaganding, who shared their views and comments on the peace process and the 2016 elections, among others.

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