Cotabato City. BARMM, Philippines. A hundred of Community, Church and Muslim leaders coming from coming from the ranks of the Moro people, Settlers and Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples (NMIP) in the Bangsamoro gather together for the two-day Conference dubbed as “Peoples Conference on Social Cohesion in the Bangsamoro”, pushing for their respective and common peace and development agenda on September 4-5, 2023 in Cotbato City.
Guiamel Alim, the Chairperson of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), and one of the organizers of this conference opened the historic gathering of peoples’ community based leaders by saying the importance of providing a platform for conversation and listening about concrete peace agenda and the challenges the peoples have experienced as they journey with the duty bearers of peace.
Executive Director Edgardo Ramirez of the Office for Settler Communities (OSC-BARMM) and Rev. Fr. Clifford Baira, DCC, Convenor of the Christian for Peace Movement (CfPM) both claimed that the conference is a platform to come up with a mutually accepted common peace agenda among the peoples in the Bangsamoro. Director Ramirez further stressed that the activity is a manifestation that there is unity amidst the existence of diversity among peoples.
The conference is a joint initiative of the CBCS, CfPM and the Office of The Right Reverend Ernie Moral, who represents the NMIP in the newly constituted BARMM Council of Leaders. The Council is mandated to be created by the Bangsamoro regional autonomous government to serve as advisory body to the BARMM Chief Minister, as provided in Republic Act No. 11054 otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Some sectoral members of the Council of Leaders and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA-BARMM) graced the occasion and participated to the deliberations of the people’s agenda by which they unanimously commit to champion during the regular council meetings and in Parliament sessions. Among the agenda that they commit are the proposed Settlers and Welfare Act. Institutionalization of the Alternative Dispute Resolutions and Indigenous Peoples Code. The BTA Members who joined the conference are: Atty Mary Ann Arnado for the MILF side and MP Rasul Ismael for the government side.
His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, OMI, DD, for his personal capacity and as member of the Council of Leaders representing the Settlers, expressed his commitment to bring the agenda not only to the BARMM leadership, but to the national leadership as well.
The conference’s success did happen with support of the organizers partners, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA). Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and MISEREOR.
REV. FR. CLIFFORD BAIRA, DCC GUIAMEL ALIM