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REMEMBERING:  Heart for the Bangsamoro

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COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 26 June) — Most who’ve had the privilege to witness how PNoy/P/Boss worked first hand would remark at his work ethic. He would come to meetings having read the Memo and all briefing papers sent to him, with marginal notes, dog-eared on significant pages, and ready to barrage you with his questions.

He wasn’t any different for the Bangsamoro peace process. Some might think that because the Framework Agreement, its four Annexes and one addendum, as well as the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro were documents filled with technical details, that these were left to the Cabinet members and their technical staff to digest. But they would be mistaken. Every single one of them was thoroughly studied and considered by P himself.

No one dared come to the frequent, full Cabinet meetings called for the sole purpose of discussing the peace process without being ready with their own presentations and data on anything that might even be remotely related to the Bangsamoro.

He was a President who would not hesitate to dedicate his and the whole Cabinet’s entire day to tackle the nitty gritty of the peace agreement, stepping out when he senses that the Secretaries need to discuss amongst themselves first, but ready to return once consensus is reached. Even if it meant people (i.e. Secretaries and their top officials) stayed in Malacañang from morning to evening on one agenda item alone.

Still, what sets him apart from all others – for me – is his heart for the Bangsamoro.

I saw a leader who genuinely desired good for his people in the most conflict-ridden part of the country. He was the leader who sincerely recognized the justness of the cause of our armed struggle and the rightness of real and effective autonomy for our people. He was the President who stood by and weathered the storm with the peace process and the BBL, at the expense of his political capital. He was the one who went on an arm and a limb to “beg” the legislators to do right by the Bangsamoro and pass the BBL.

He would not succeed. But that is not on him.

There is so much that this President has done for the Bangsamoro in his six years of service to the Filipinos. And for that, his demise is a cause for immense sorrow.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun. To God we belong and to Him is our return.

Salamat, PNoy, Sir.

(Lawyer Anna Tarhata Basman was a member and later head of the legal panel of the government’s peace panel that negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2012 and Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014. She also worked as legal consultant of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and was Deputy Executive Director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. She is now a Member of Parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. She posted this piece on her Facebook page on June 25. MindaNews was granted permission to share this).



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