“Last two minutes”

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By Ging-ging Avellanosa Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Sunday, March 30, 2014

IN SPORTS, like the most-watched favorites among teams in the PBA or NBA, it is the last two minutes that sometimes make or break a team, leading or losing. At this juncture, the days and months following the euphoria in the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) can make or break so many hopes and dreams for peace in Mindanao.

With bated breath the people are waiting for the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to finally provide a draft copy of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). I could imagine the pressure that members of the Commission could be feeling now, that is building up inside.

Like walking on a tight rope, the working group behind the able leadership of Chairman Mohagher Iqbal could be working doubly hard now, knowing that so many interest groups have their stakes in the BBL, especially those that have submitted their recommendations on specific issues.


Hence, it is no wonder then that many among stakeholders are consciously and patiently scanning sources of information for signs everywhere, and vigilantly looking out for glitches and hitches that could threaten to deface or jeopardize the seemingly bright prospects obtaining in developments surrounding the CAB.

Could something go wrong? Scepticisms coming from the uninterested and the cynics could not douse the fire of great expectations from Peace Advocates. No matter what, there’s no other way to go but forward.

It pays, however to help the BTC recall and make sure nothing and no one is left behind. For the civil society organizations (CSOs) however, it is imperative to make known what needs to be included in the flood of issues and concerns that needs to be addressed in the BBL. For the Sustainable Cooperation for Equitable Enterprise Development, Incorporated, Inc. (SUCCEED), the development of the Social Economic Sector is of prime importance to make the BBL really work for the Bangsamoro.

In particular, it recommends that “Existing enabling laws and policies for people’s democratic participation (i.e. NGOs, Cooperatives, Peoples organizations, etc.) in social affairs and governance including the 1987 Philippine constitution, the 1991 Local Government code (RA 7160), the cooperative code (RA 9520) as amended, Republic Act 8425 (or Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act), among others, shall be adopted in the BBL.

Furthermore, it insists that “Social economic sector in the Bangsamoro shall be developed as the foundation for inclusive economic growth and development. It shall be built upon the unified and collective strength from the basic sectors of the Lumads, Muslims and Settlers. It shall play distinct role in the economy complementary to the public and private sectors; and that “The institutions and organizations of the social economic sectors such as social enterprises (i.e. cooperatives, self-help orgs), people’s organizations (POs), labor unions, worker’s associations, etc. shall be encouraged and supported to expand its outreach to the “economically excluded majority”.

While there’s no guarantee that all these will be considered by the BTC in its endeavour to come up with the draft BBL soon enough, it is the fervent hope of SUCCEED and all the rest of the CSOs in Mindanao that the BTC will consider these matters and make its work less of a struggle.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 31, 2014.


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