The title itself best capture the totality of the recent Council of Leaders (COL) meeting of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS-COL) held at EM Manor Crystal Hall in Cotabato City.
Guiamel Alim, the CBCS Chairperson before delivering his opening message recalled and as tribute to COL members who had ended earlier their journey in this world at the tone of the song “What a journey it has been” touching the life of the late Acting Secretary General Sammy Maulana. Then proceeded with by naming them one by one started from Abusama “Bobby” Taguntong, Norodin Manalao, Oscar “Oca” Solaiman, Prof. Octavio Dinampo, Lacks Dalidig, and Manila Boy.
Much earlier departed COL members were Hadji Kahar Pikit, Datu Kulip Eging and Abusama “Mike” Alamada who are pioneer members or member of the first set of CBCS-COL.
It was followed by the opening message of the Chairperson that mainly deals with political, economic, peace and security but mostly deals with the challenges being faced by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) on transitioning in the next three-year extended term to 2025.
In ending his message Chairman Guiamel as fondly called by his peers, stressed that: “The above and all the challenges undermines the capacity of BARRM to govern”. However, he said: “Let it be reminded that all these challenges ahead are not only tasks of the government but also our concerns as civil society organizations. And I said that war is not yet over unless the war is over. Be reminded that whatever happens we hope we never broke our human relationships and that our political leanings are only secondary”.
The other highlights of the Meeting is the presentation of the 13-Point Advocacy Agenda of CBCS also known as “CBCS Development Agenda” for the next three years up to 2025 and beyond for the COL confirmation and to be finally approved by CBCS General Assembly (CBCS-GA).
It was likewise pointed out that said Development Agenda are aiming to contribute for the achievement of both intermediate and long term outcomes towards CBCS Ultimate Vision – the enjoyment and exercise of right to self-determination of the Bangsamoro. This can only be possible through the success of the peace processes between the Moro Fronts and Government of the Philippines or if not through peoples empowerment.
Another important decision reached by the Council is reducing the number of regular members of the Council of Leaders from current twenty-one members to ten (10) members. This is to cope up with the problem of reaching a quorum amidst strict health protocols and travel restrictions brought about by the covid-19 pandemic. Although the agreed numbers reduced into ten members the other ten were made as reserved just in case that any of the ten regular members will not be able to make it due to valid reasons.
The Council of Leaders also able to passed and signed three important resolutions for urgent concerns presented at their plenary session as follows: 1) Resolution No. 2022 – 001 Recommending CBCS – COL member and Member of the Parliament Prof, Sahie Ujah for reappointment as member of the Parliament during the BTA Term Extension to 2025; 2) Resolution No. 2022 – 002 Appealing to Honorable Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim to fast-track the establishment of BARMM Satellite Offices in Bangsamoro areas outside its core territories and Resolution No. 2022 – 003 Requesting the members of Parliament to provide fund assistance for CBCS CSO Networks outside BARMM core territories.
Finally, the Council agreed to set the CBCS General Assembly as soon as possible for the final approval of all the agenda discussed and approved in the COL meeting.