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Youth group garners 500,000 signatures for BBL passage June 26, 2015

Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
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From the Website of OPPAP
links:  http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/youth-group-garners-500000-signatures-bbl-passage

Youth group garners 500,000 signatures for BBL passage

Marawi City – Within three months and only 100 youth volunteers, a youth organization collected 500,000 signatures from the different parts of Mindanao in support of the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Coalition of Moro Youth Movement chair Marjanie Macasalong said in an interview with online news portal rappler.com that they gathered the signatures to combat notions that the BBL was not being supported by Mindanaoans, especially in the proposed core territories of the Bangsamoro.

“The idea came about when those people in Manila kept on saying that the BBL has no support from the masses. So the youth volunteers decided that we should show to the people in Manila that this (BBL) is really supported by the masses,” Macasalong said.

The youth leader added that the petition was to put pressure on Congress to pass a BBL that was consistent to the draft submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) which was based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace accord signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

“The new generations are the ones who will be leading the society so we have to be concerned with this peace effort so the young generation, they can feel that they are part of the process. Therefore, they can contribute, their voices are heard,” Macasalong added.

According to the youth group, some of the signatures gathered were from Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga City, Cotabato City, and Sultan Kudarat — areas outside the proposed core territories of the Bangsamoro. He remarked that their group was also planning to gather signatures in Metro Manila soon.

A survey conducted by the polling organization Social Weather Stations from February 22-March 1, 2015 in the proposed core territory of the Bangsamoro region showed overwhelming support for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the replacement of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the Bangsamoro.

Grassroots support for the BBL

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary and Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel member Yasmin Busran-Lao praised the youth group’s initiative to show support for the peace process.

“Pinapatunayan lamang po ng mga kabataan na mali ang sabi-sabi na walang suporta mula sa mismong Bangsamoro ang pagpasa ng BBL sa pamamagitan ng pagkalap ng 500,000 signatures mula sa iba’t ibang parte ng Mindanao (The youth proved wrong the notion that there was no support for the passage of BBL in the Bangsamoro itself through collecting 500,000 signatures from the different parts of Mindanao),” Lao commented.

The NCMF secretary expressed that this kind of social movements sprung from the belief that the BBL would both end the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao and provide its residents with peaceful and progressive lives. “Ang kapayapaang hinahangad natin ay para sa inyo, para sa magandang kinabukasan ng mga kabataan (The peace we are hoping is for you, the future of the youth),” she remarked.

Lao’s comments reflected the Feb. 22-March 1 survey conducted by the SWS which showd that “attitudes toward the proposed Basic Law were positive throughout the Core Territory.”

In a different poll a month after, the SWS also stated that while segments of the Philippine population were unsupportive of the BBL, the negative attitude could be attributed to the lack of knowledge on the Bangsamoro. “Filipino adults who say they know the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) extensively have favorable views about it.”

Pro-BBL signatures to be shared with authorities

Macasalong also divulged that they were planning to submit the signatures to the House of Representatives and to the Senate before the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

“Nilagyan namin ng bawat pahina ng tatak na certified true copy ang mga photocopy na ibibigay sa Senado, mababang kapulungan, opisina ng pangulo at iba pang ahensiya para hindi ito mahaluan ng mga fake o mga papel na hindi kasama sa petition (We marked as ‘certified true copy’ every page of the photocopies that will be given to the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Office of the President, and the other agencies to ensure the authenticity of the documents),” he said.

Both Houses adjourned sine die without beating the self-imposed deadline on the passage of the BBL.  However, the SWS survey revealed that majority of  those in the proposed territory remained hopeful. “Despite the storm of controversy that followed the January 25 Mamasapano encounter, and the delays in Congressional deliberations on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law that ensued, residents of the Core Territory of the Bangsamoro are still hopeful that Congress could pass the law.”

Both the House and Senate leadership vowed to continue working on the BBL once session resumes in July.

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