Wednesday, February 25, 2015

CBCP PASTORAL STATEMENT ON THE DRAFT BBL (22 JANUARY 2015)




“Many are disturbed that there is a lot of misinformation and misinterpretation with regards to certain provisions of BBL, as for instance, the provision in land.  Presently, attempts to grab land or drive away their lawful owners by force of arms and even by murder, under the pretext of ancestral domain, are creating fear and tension among certain communities in the Bangsamoro.  There is the reported rise of shadowy civilian militias for self-protection…”(Par. 10)

It is common knowledge that while Mindanao is endowed with the beauty of nature, the blessing of a clean environment plus the good fortune of rich natural resources, all these attributions however have been long since undermined by social liabilities therein of long standing as basically caused by long existing regional harmony and conflict.  And the ultimate victims whereof are none other than the people of Mindanao themselves.

This is why in  the last analysis, the BBL is perceived and intended to be the fundamental resolution to such disunity.  Numerous meetings have been held abroad and locally. Different individuals with their rightful public offices and proper personal credentials have been involved.  Much effort as well as much money have been spent for its formulation.  So is it too that more meetings and discussions, more hearings and debates are being held for its analysis and evaluation – specially so with the advent of the now well-known and much detested infamous Mamasapano Massacre.

But then, even before the said murderous event took place, the CBCP – with good will towards all and malice towards none – already noticed and noted in particular the three following existing realities that undermine the much desired passage of the BBL for unity and  peace in Mindanao:

1.  The provisions on land:  Land is wealth, assurance and promise to the natives of a place in particular who are disturbed by certain BBL provisions that cause both misinformation  and misinterpretation.

2.  The pretext of ancestral domain:  Attempts to grab lands, to do away with their lawful owners under title and claim of ancestral domain, unfortunately come about with the BBL understanding.

3.  The rise of shadowy civilian militias:  There are now  this and that group of individuals who are interestingly both civilians and militias intended for the self-protection of the fearful communities concerned.

All the above already now  existing realities in Mindanao are certainly dissonant with a central objective of the BBL for the reign of harmony and peace in the region.  And all these have to be diligently considered by the authors and promoters of the said Basic Law – lest this cause more problems than solutions, more disunity than harmony among the people concerned.  And there is nothing like goodwill to bring about truth, unity and harmony.  This is an over-all lesson of history.