May 25 2015

DEALING WITH FELLOW CHRISTIAN LEADERS OPPOSING THE BBL

dinner-with-iq

After a few weeks of a series of meetings with Church leaders and executives of certain Christian organizations who are passionately opposed to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), I find it refreshing to be with my fellow peace advocates from the civil society and having a very informal and relaxed dialogue with Chair Mohagher Iqbal of MILF Peace Panel.

BBL is Bangsamoro Basic Law. It is a product of the final peace deal between the Philippine government and the the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; it seeks to address decades-old grievances by creating a new regional government with greater fiscal and political powers than the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

In the past 25 days, I chose 25 of my fellow leaders who have expressed either their explicit disagreement against the Bangsamoro Basic Law (NO TO BBL!) or their implicit fear or doubt about it on their respective Facebook pages.

  • When asked if they have read the BBL, 23 said ‘No’ and 2 said ‘Yes’. Later, during the actual discussions, the 2 persons admitted they simply heard what’s in it from TV.
  • When asked to identify at least an item in the BBL they disagree with, 12 said they do not trust the Moros/Muslims; 8 said they don’t want the Muslims/Moros to take control of Mindanao; 5 said Muslims/Moros are terrorists/violent/rebels/outlaw.
  • When sent an information link about the subject being discussed, 21 ignored them and replied immediately; 4 of them said they’ll read it and later replied with more rational approach, even in their continuing disagreement.
  • When asked about their idea of alternative path for peace, 12 said that the Moros have to surrender their arms first then have peace talks; 5 said that the Moros must submit to the government because it’s what the Bible says; 6 said use force to stop their terrorism; 2 did not bother to answer.

I and my peacebuilding colleagues still have a lot of work to do in educating our fellow Christian leaders here about peace and reconciliation in the context of our land.

God, have mercy on our people and our land.

 

 

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