The passage into law of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or Republic Act no. 11054 and its eventual ratification on January 21 and February 6, 2019 is a landmark achievement in the forty four (44) years negotiation combined with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) for twenty one years and twenty three years between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). A process which Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) faithfully accompanied since its inception in 2002.
At the outset, on top of issues are reducing poverty as ARMM remain at 48.2% or 300,000 families were poor in ARMM in 2015, as compared to the poverty incidence of the rest of the country at 21.6% in 2015. Secondly, still the issue of peace and security as armed skirmishes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and homegrown Moro groups claiming ties to ISIS like the Maute, BIFF and ASG continue that ensues conflicts and displacement of civilian populations coupled with the frequent natural calamities, making peacekeeping and peace building a continuing work for the government and peace stakeholders. These are among the problems which everyone is hoping BOL will respond to in the immediate future.
Thus, it is an accepted fact that the challenges ahead for the leaderships of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region are greater than the available opportunities. It is faced with the gargantuan task of alleviating high level of poverty, breaking political dynasty, economic monopoly and oligarchic leadership. Equally challenging is uniting highly divided people and a kind of corporate corruption in government. Other social issues that can serve as gridlock to peace and development is weak social cohesion and divides along tribal, ethnic religious lines among the population as a product of decades of violent conflict. Notwithstanding these structural and horizontal infirmities, the people still pin their hope to the BAR as a savior.
In other words, despite of the better hopes and opportunities in the BOL still the implementation is its acid-test otherwise it will remain as worthless “piece of paper” as other believed so if not handled properly. The possibility of a failure in a peace settlement agreement is not remote as in the case of the GOP-MNLF 1996 Final Peace Agreement which ended in as a “failed experiment” which cannot be blamed on the agreement but rather pinned in the poor implementation and weak support from greater majority of the people.
Finally, what is eminent is that the peace processes which CBCS faithfully accompanied for the last 12 years yielded a significant fruit that necessitates sustaining and accompanying in its implementation process.
It is for this reason that CBCS proposes to organize an active citizenry for good governance in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region as a humble effort to accompany the Bangsamoro Transition Authority on its way to a model government. The BANGSAMORO CARE (BM-CARE) will serve as the platform for constructive engagement, critical collaboration and partnership with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Regional Government. This effort is aligned with the commitment of the Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim for the establishment of Moral Governance, inclusive development, participative governance and more equitable share in the dividend of peace.