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The purpose of the meeting was to hear from the different sectors, particularly those representing the youth and the indigenous peoples. Representatives from various interest groups were called in to present their position papers.


See attendance.


The pertinent issues that were discussed in the meeting are as follows:


Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Rights

•An explicit codification of the specific rights of the IPs was echoed by the majority of the speakers. They would rather have Congress put these rights in the text of the BBL rather than have the Bangsamoro Parliament define these rights.

•They are concerned that the IPRA may be repealed by the BBL. They said the IPRA must be respected.

•It was proposed that ancestral domains be carved out from the Bangsamoro territory.

•Free, prior and informed consent was emphasized.

Extension of the transition period to four years

Women and youth rights

•A call for more seats for women and the youth

•Phrasing of the BBL to make it more gender-friendly


•There is a need to explain the workings of the Sharia to the people.

•It was proposed that the qualifications of the jurisconsult and the like should be reconsidered.



The congressmen were not able to ask questions due to time constraints. The IP groups were concerned about their representation and the implications of the BBL on the IPRA and the ancestral domains.


Highlights of the main discussion







Gregorio Andolana: RA 8371 was meant to rectify historical injustice, to give the IPs the right to self-determination, etc. But these objectives were crumpled before the act was passed. Now the BBL talks about enhancing and promoting the rights of the IPs. The autonomous regions were created by the Constitution. Bangsamoro is not mentioned. It now becomes a reenactment of a new political unit. On the other hand, there are already existing ancestral domains or native titles. These existing rights should be respected. Otherwise, this would violate the principle of the non-impairment of contracts. In the case of Cariño v. Insular Government, the Court through Justice Holmes recognized IP rights to ancestral lands. It is sad to know that there is a provision in the BBL that states that laws inconsistent with the BBL will be repealed. I have reservations with this as regards to the IPs. There must be equal protection of the laws. Provisions of the IPRA and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should not be modified. Congress should create an office that would cater to the IPs, and draft provisions regarding IP land registration.


Amina Rasul (PCID): PCID supports the BBL, has conducted and organized consultations; the concerns of the various stakeholders were taken together. The Bangsamoro will replace the ARMM; the MNLF considers the ARMM as a case of stolen sovereignty. The BBL should not depart significantly from what was agreed. The following are the concerns gathered from the consultations: protection of women, IPs, and non-Muslim inhabitants; the equitable participation of Bangsamoro women; the protection of ancestral domain, and the synergy of agreements; the clarity of intergovernmental mechanisms and relationships; the development of an appropriate civil service system; the security of civil servants; the need to ensure that the transition authority is effective (it should take more than 2 years); the development of an electoral system, public order system, and fiscal management system; and the proper implementation of Sharia (the current system is dysfunctional; no woman is present in the crafting of the code). It is desired that the BBL should be passed sooner than later.

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez: Please pass your position paper.

Rasul: We will pass our position paper.

Cesar Villanueva (Waging Peace; Pax Christi Insitute): (Provides a background of Pax Christi Institute) We strongly support the BBL and its enhancement.


Grace Villanueva (Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center): We will be submitting an additional position paper. Our position is that there should be no derogation of IP rights, and we propose to make this non-derogation explicit in the BBL. It’s not clear. According to the legal luminaries invited during the previous hearings, the deliberations on the bill are not binding; only the text is. There is a question of identity here. There are several IPs in the Bangsamoro, different tribes, all different identities. We feel that the BBL amends IPRA; it is not IPRA ++. Where is the IPRA ++? It is not clear. The BBL says that this will be determined in future legislation. The fate of the IPs will be placed in the Bangsamoro council. We would rather that this guarantee of the welfare of the IPs be not just oral, but explicit. It must be stated in the BBL, and not in further legislation.


Fr. Albert Alejo (Ateneo de Zamboanga University): The ARMM is a failed experiment. The ARMM and the Central Government failed the IPs. The BBL should correct this injustice. The IPRA was not implemented. If the IPRA is the solution to the problem of the IPs, implement the IPRA; give power to the NCIP; give them their ancestral domain. The law must be explicit in letter and spirit. The IPRA is to correct historical injustice. We can learn from the experience of Subic. There was opposition at first but they eventually learned to manage. Mindanao peace can be achieved through radical transformation of mindsets. The IPRA is also a product of an agreement. Don’t sacrifice one peace agreement over the other.


Yolly Esguerra (Philippine Miserior Partnership): We will focus our discussion on resource extraction. The PMPI platforms for dialogue revolve around the promotion of human development anchored on sustainable development. There must be clear roles regarding wealth sharing. We are particularly interested in Articles 12 and 13 of the BBL regarding national patrimony. Article 13, Section 11 speaks of a “bona fide habitant” Who is considered a bona fide habitant? There should be a concise definition for bona fide habitant. Otherwise, this would serve as an opportunity for outsiders who have capital to exploit this provision. In Article 13, Section 20, how are “nonliving resources” different from the mineral resources? The differentiation would entail a different regime of income and revenue sharing. This also concerns exploration, development and utilization (EDU) of natural resources, fiscal regime and sharing. In Article 13, Section 12, concerning the recognition of rights of IPs to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), the FPIC process should not only be resorted to, but should be major process covered within the scope of BBL. International standards should be observed. We support the IP rights in BBL. Article 12, Section 32 on EDU not clear— the 75 share is not clear on where it shall be based, the net or gross income. Is the natural resources as defined in 1987 Constitution used in the BBL? Regarding Article 13, Section 15, legislation should focus on the preventive mechanism. We should use the word “shall” instead of “may” in the provision concerning compensation of victims. In the issue of small scale mining, the “affected communities” should be qualified in terms of the “watershed continuum”. The BBL is silent on EDU; there should be an explicit provision on natural resources laws and the application of existing regional laws.


Jasmin Galace (Women Engaged in Action): Our proposals are as follows— regarding Article 9, Section 10 on sexual and gender based violence, calamities, mechanisms should be created to handle them. There should be more reserved seats in Bangsamoro Parliament for women. We would like changes to certain provisions in the BBL. For Article 11, Section 2, ensure participation of women. In Art. 9 “manning” should be replaced with “staffing”. In Art. 9, Sec. 2, the program in the police force against women violence, the 10-15% quota should be reserved for women; this is to ensure that the community police will respect human rights. Women also need to have access to land ownership. In Art. 16, Sec. 2, in the BTA, women should be represented in the decision making mechanism to promote the women’s agenda.


Judy Pasimo (Lilak): The BBL is said to be IPRA ++. Where exactly are the ++ provisions? There were no categorical answers. IPRA recognizes identities. Trust is earned, and respect is a matter of reciprocity. The IPRA has not been implemented; the ancestral domains have not been delineated. It was not implementable in ARMM, because it was said to be outside of the ARMM’s jurisdiction. The government should protect its other constituents. Tension is high on the ground. There has been speculation among the mining industries, and threats have been given to the Lumads. There had been killings such as that of Timuay Ari. No Lumads should be left behind.


Gus Miclat (Initiatives for International Dialogue): The BBL is the product of political settlement. It should echo the voices on the ground. For example, that of Baba Umbay who worked tirelessly for a ceasefire; Bert Layson who engaged in interfaith activities. The enemy of war is war itself. (Stories of Datu Ansalili, Eman Lacaa) There are stories to tell. It will not automatically ensure peace. The BBL should ensure that civil societies and grassroots be institutionalized in its mechanisms. The BBL can still be enhanced—addition of principle of security in the preamble, and human security commission. Bring the Bangsamoro political entity to the people.


Moner Bajunaid (National Ulama Conference): The National Ulama Conference supports the BBL in its intent, letter and spirit. Proposals: extend transition period to 4 years until elections in 2019. One year is too short; the four years would be able to accommodate the necessary charter change. The BBL should be able to frame specific provisions to suit Bangsamoro culture and territory, and to find solutions to the displaced people. There must be two qualified women in the cabinet. In Art. 10, Sec. 21 regarding the jurisconsult or the darul ifta, there must be 8

deputies in consult instead of 3. The jurisconsult may not necessarily be members of Sharia and IBP – to interpret Sharia, it includes matters of worship, business transcations, derivation of jurisprudence, and the halal. Sharia is the basis/source of Islamic law but interpretation in Islamic jurisprudence. “Jurisconsult” should be defined properly.


Joselito Libres (SUCCEED): Our concern is mostly with Art. 13 regarding representation of other stakeholders specifically Section 4. Art. 12, Section 10 on equal functions in coordination, should include substantial representation. Art. 13, Sec. 5 should include the active participation of civil society in monitoring of Bangsamoro Development Plan, on natural resources. Art. 12, Sec. 6 is not clear. Art. 13, Sec. 23 on fishers needs substantiation. Agriculture and fisheries should be indicated in the BBL as subtopics. Tourism is not mentioned (in terms of support?)


Abdulbasit Benito (Mindanao Council of Leaders): The BBL should be relevant to CAB in form and substance as submitted by the Office of the President. ARMM should serve as a lesson. Here, the formula was unacceptable to Bangsamoro.


Earl Saavedra (National Youth Commission): The National Youth Commission passed a resolution. Where are we in the greater scheme of things? There are major youth development issues in the region. Policies should lean towards their development through inclusion. Allot seats for the youth sector. Youth representation is essential to ensure the issues and concerns of the youth of the Bangsamoro. Regarding Art. 7, Sec. 5, it should include providing mechanisms wherein the youth are meaningfully represented in Parliament.



Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman (Young Moro Professionals Network): We should put emphasis on the role of the youth; they should have reserved seats. The Youth should be recognized as an important and distinct stakeholder. We propose the development and the strengthening of the madrasa system in a way that we could apply the teachings in our lives. There should also be education on history, culture and identity as part of the normalization process. We also propose improving revenue share of local communities in resources of Lake Lanao and the creation of a Lake Lanao board. Fair plebiscite should be upheld. To win without fighting is the best.


Baibon Sangid (UP Institute of Islmic Studies): (Tells plight of the Bangsamoro, e.g. Jabidah massacre) There is no due process of law. The many who have died have not been cited. (Tells about people who have fled to Sabah and their repatriation). We long for the cessation of war. Do not worry, we will not separate. We ask Congress to act using compassionate lens, and not be legalistic in reading the BBL. BBL is inclined towards inclusivity, adherent to the Constitution, and international law. The Wali should be insulated from politics. Higher education should be provided. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is most welcome as it unclogs the courts. The Bangsamoro law “enforcer” should be called as such and not as “police”. Half of its rank-and-file should be women. This would be more effective for law enforcement as Muslim men are afraid to be shot by women as they [men] would go to hell. There should be regulation of NGOs so we would not be accused of abuse as in the Napoles case. We also ask Congress to restrain our men leaders from having multiple wives to discourage them from being corrupt. I wonder how the present administration convinced the rebel group to drop their demands. Perhaps it is due to the women seating in the peace table that soften their hearts.

Rodriguez: As they say, when you want to get a man’s job done, get a woman.

Sangid was very emotional especially recalling the ordeals of her mother.

Mussolini Lidasan (Al Qalam Institute): There is a need for interreligious dialogue, a horizontal process. I have 3 points to discuss—   identity, concept of Sharia, environment. On identity, regarding Art. 2, Sec. 1, definition of Bangsamoro becomes a challenge. Bangsamoro refers to people; those outside can opt to identify themselves as such but it is NOT AN IMPOSED IDENTITY. The definition must be enacted in clarity, inclusivity, whether to refer to territory, people, or resident. On the Sharia, (Art. 10, Sec. 1) it should only apply to Muslims. What does this mean? When speaking with the grassroots, they still have this impression that this would mean the government cutting hands, and stoning to death. These are cultural practices that are not Islamic. For the sources of Sharia, we need more Muslim intellectuals. It should be categorical that there will be no forum shopping. On the environment, it is better to proclaim the contested areas under NIPAS.


Nikki Delfin (Generation Peace): There is a need for intercultural and community dialogues; the law is silent on transitional justice. We urge for meaningful participation, representation of youth, and access to basic social services. Regarding Art. 3, Sec. 13 on the protection of IP, it should be indigenous “peoples” so as to recognize diversity, and it should be “all” citizens.


Ida Lao: We put emphasis on the fact that peoples are equal, and have coequal status with the Bangsamoro. Our fear is that the definition is territorial not cultural (will zero in on the expansion mechanism, and expound indefinitely). BBL should expressly exclude from expansion the ancestral domains. IPRA must be respected. Forced assimilation is an act of discrimination.


Beatriz Culmo (MIPP Forum): We support the full inclusion of rights of IP. There must be a non-derogation of rights clause. The BBL must specify land; the management of natural resources should be determined by the IPs. There is no equitable sharing of power if there are just 2 seats for the IPs. Native title must be defined according to the IPRA. The IPs are not merely sectors; they also have rights to identity. IPRA must be respected.


Janel Pesons (Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement): Impossible for CADT because IPRA was never recognized. The NCIP only acted now. The ancestral domains need to be delineated; this entails the survival of tribes. There was no free, prior and informed consent. What will be the process regarding ancestral domains? Labeling IPs is injustice. The position papers passed by the IPs were considered informal, and were not really taken into consideration. There must be clarity and assurance of the rights. The process should be inclusive.


Datu Hussayin A. Arpa (Philippine Council for Sama-Badjao): (Tells historical background on Sama-Badjao) The lesson learned from MOA-AD point to the lack of transparency and exclusivity in the peace negotiations that created adverse reactions. The failure was in not consulting key decision makers. Our position paper results from extensive consultations with stakeholders. We are Moro. Sama and Badjao should be included in the joint intergovernmental mechanism, be allocated a seat in the BTA. One seat should be afforded to Sama and Badjao as they have no capability to exercise their political rights, the right of territory to shorelines, to ancestral waters. We should be included in the social services, and be able to participate in future consultations re: aquatic resources, preservation and protection of heritage, share of leadership, and definite revenue allocation. The absence of peace means nothing but poverty and crime.

Biazon: I have heard of Ancestral Domains, but never of Ancestral Waters. I think we would need a definition for that.


Bai Nanapnay Saway (Moro-Kinship Council): We must respect the sacredness of peace compact—dyandi; native title. There must be equitable sharing, although we do not emphasize in how much. We ask for free, prior and informed consent, the recognition of tribal justice, seats in parliament, and representation in the government. Draft the law in such a way as to embody generosity, compassion.


Datuan Magon (United Youth for Peace and Development): BBL is key to genuine peace and development. The previous efforts were implemented in the wrong formula, i.e., counter insurgency. The conquerors divided Filipinos and Bangsamoro. The BBL will provide quality education and alleviate poverty. The solution to threat of radicalism is not in the failure of this law. We propose an extension of the BTA up to 2019. One term is not enough.


Jamal Latiph (I Care for Bangsamoro Movement): I’m concerned about the equitable sharing of the resources of Lanao Lake. The electrical power needs of Mindanao are not being met.

Rep. Loong: Next meeting we can ask more questions.

Speech was cut short due to time constraints.

Rep. Catamco: This session has given voice to the unarticulated voices of the IPs.


Rep. Biazon: (History of conflict and peace efforts; personal experience fighting Tupay Loong; experience with Ecuador peace process) Identify opposing views and interests, and find a solution. We must accept their position and look for a compromise.


Rodriguez called that Biazon be brought back to the Senate.

Samsodin Amella (Maguindanao Action for Peace and Development Initiatives): Proposals: 1) Longer transition period of 4 years; 2) approval and presentation of normalization which should include the elimination of private armed groups (PAGs); 3) review of annual budget.


Ferrer: We’re pleased to hear that none of the speakers thought of the BBL as unconstitutional.


Proceeded to clarify certain points but was told to reserve it for another meeting due to time constraints.

Rep. Lobregat: (We are for peace spiel) Will the BBL be passed? Yes, the president has the numbers. When will it be passed? Probably by the end of the quarter. But what is more important is the kind of law that will be passed, one that could stand legal scrutiny.




Concluding statements

Hon. Rufus Rodriguez said that a separate meeting will be set so as the congressmen will be able to ask their questions. The committee will consolidate issues from the position papers submitted.