A Better Bangsamoro For All: Women`s Contribution to the Bangsamoro Basic Law

Photo 1COTABATO CITY – March 7, 2014 at the EM Manor Hotel, 320 women leaders and representatives from grassroots communities and women’s organizations as well as honorary guests celebrated the International Women’s Day by highlighting the strong commitment of women to achieve “a better Bangsamoro for all”. Women delegates coming from the provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Lanao Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Davao City, Pagadian City and General Santos City witnessed the formal presentation and turn-over of the women’s recommendation “A Better Bangsamoro for all: Women’s Contribution to the Bangsamoro Basic Law” to members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

The recommendations are the result of 72 consultations jointly conducted by United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women), NisaUl Haqq Fi Bangsamoro (Nisa), Teduray Lambangian Women’s Organization Incorporated (TLWOI) and Bangsamoro Women’s Action for Development Initiatives (BWADI). Around 2,750 Moro, Indigenous Peoples (IP’s) and settlers women participated in the consultations conducted outside and within the core areas of the Bangsamoro territorial claim.

Six representatives from the BTC were present during the summit: Ms. Froilyn Mendoza, IP representative of GPH-BTC, Atty. Johaira Wahab, youngest member of BTC from the GPH, Mr. Talib Benito from GPH-BTC, Abdullah Camlian from MILF together with Atty. Raissa Jajurie, women representative of MILF-BTC and Chairman Mohagher Iqbal.

According to Ms. Froilyn Mendoza, the women’s recommendation arrived timely on March 4, 2014 where the Committee on Fiscal Autonomy is discussing issues on gender and development. “Na pa oo namin ang mga lalaking memPhoto 2bro ng BTC na suportahan ang women’s agenda.” (We were able to convince the male member of the BTC to support the women’s agenda). She cited Ms. Fatmawati Salapuddin, GPH-BTC member “Nagpaliwanag na may ibang pangangailangan tayong mga babae na kaylangang tugunan dahil hindi pantay ang platform na ating kinatatayuan”. (Explained that, because of unequal status quo of women and men in the society, women have special needs which have to be addressed.)

Atty. Johaira Wahab mentioned that the value being reflected during the consultations is not only giving information, but also providing an opportunity for reflection. She then added that the peace process will not be successful without the participation of the community.  Atty. Johaira appealed to the participants of the summit to help the BTC maintaining the integrity, transparency and the inclusivity of the peace process. “Importante na mag usap usap tayo at magkaroon ng pagkakataon na mag-usap kung anong tingin natin sa mga bagay bagay”. (It is important that we talk and discuss our opinion on the issues -was referring to the Bangsamoro peace process.)

Photo3“Naisalang na sa komite kanina ang recommendations ng mga kababaihan” (women’s recommendation was already presented in the committee-morning March 7, 2014) and has been discussed by the commission and is being considered for plenary deliberation. “We have come to recognize that considering the women’s agenda is significant to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The sector of women has something very important to give and women participation is vital for Bangsamoro development”, Atty. Raissa Jajurie said.

The BBL envisions a society promoting and advancing just peace, humanity and environmentally responsive agendas and policies. The framework agreement has already guaranteed the equal opportunity of men and women on access to basic social services like food, employment, education, health etc. and to pursue political aspirations and others. “These rights are similarly guaranteed for women and they are already included in the Bangsamoro Basic Law”, assured Talib Benito.

Abdullah Camlian said that “Ina assure ko kayo na ang karapatan ng kababaihan ay isusulong sa Bangsamoro” (I assured that the rights of women will be supported by the Bangsamoro) and quoted a verse from the Hadith saying “Paradise lies at the feet of your mother”, therefore “walang lalaking hindi susuporta sa mga kababaihan” (All man will always support the women).

Chairman Mohagher Iqbal expressed that their presence at the summit is a manifestation of commitment and dedication to the peace process and he assured that the BTC will look at the relevant recommendations and consider them in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). He referred to the framework agreement where the right of women to participate iPhoto 4n politics is guaranteed including protection from any forms of violence and the allocation of funds for gender and development programs. “The participation of women in the Bangsamoro government in the future is assured”, he added.

Mr. Thomas Phipps of the British Embassy said “women’s participating in the formulation of the comprehensive framework agreement indicates that women are actively taking part in realizing the future. Women have been very helpful in upholding human rights issues, providing education and raising awareness. This experience provides great hope to the people.”

The Women’s Summit: “Celebrating Women’s Commitment for a better Bangsamoro for All”, is the final event of the project on “Entrenching Women’s Participation in the Bangsamoro Basic Law”, which has been led by UnYPhil-Women, NISA, BWADI and TLWOI and co-convened by MWDECC, MWAGG, NOORUS SALAM. Women`s organizations and various agencies provided support and contributed to the crafting and formulation of the recommendation. The project is funded by the British Embassy in the Philippines and coordinated by Conciliation Resources.

By: Hasna Adi

United Youth of the Philippines-Women


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