THE All-Out Peace movement, a broad network of peace advocates and civil society groups, on Friday welcomed the submission by the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission of the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to President Rodrigo Duterte.
The new draft of the BBL was submitted on July 17.
“We see this positive development for the new BBL as a fresh opportunity and a significant step to end our long and exhaustive search for a just and enduring peace in Mindanao,” AOP said.
“However, while we applaud this monumental initiative by the present government on the Bangsamoro peace process, AOP is gravely concerned over the continuing crisis in Marawi including the plan by the government to extend the implementation of martial law in the whole of Mindanao,” the group said.
With more than a month of armed skirmishes since martial law was declared on May 23, the conflict in Marawi has left scores dead, the number of internally displaced persons have soared to hundreds of thousands and a significant part of the city literally pulverized into rubble due to sustained aerial strikes that have also deeply traumatized its citizens, AOP said.
“We believe that extending the implementation of martial law is fundamentally incoherent with the government’s strong support for the peace process,” they said.
“While we condemn in the strongest terms the terror and violence committed by the so-called Maute group and their cohorts against the people and defenseless communities of Marawi and its spillover effect to the entire island and country, we do not see a prolonged martial law or a mere military solution as a viable and sustainable formula to address armed insurgency in Mindanao,” they said.
AOP said the government and the armed forces have both affirmed this and have enough power in their hands to address this peace and order situation without resorting to this draconian step.
More concretely, the group said they were worried that the extension or possible expansion of martial law might have some serious implications not only to human rights but to the whole peace process itself.
AOP stressed that if the government was indeed sincere in bringing real peace to Mindanao—and the entire country for that matter, it must do so by addressing the fundamental issues that cause rebellion and insurgency.
These are seriously addressing poverty, inequality, injustice, discrimination, and corruption among others. And it should do so by involving the main stakeholders—the citizens, the conflict-affected, the people—in developing solutions to these problems, they said.
“With a sense of accountability, we urge the present government to walk its peacetalk towards the path of ending the war and insurgency in Mindanao by giving primacy to the peace process—a peace process that is founded on the principles of genuine peace, human rights and social justice,” AOP also said.