When Maranao PeopleDevelopment Center, (MARADECA) Inc. went around the mostly lakeside towns of Lanao del Sur in October this year to conduct information drive on the proposed basic law for Moro areas, not only did these generated eager attendance, they also became venues for serious discussions on the fate of the autonomous region for Filipino Muslims and its residents.
Across the many towns around Lake Lanao, residents did not hide their anxiety, doubts and fears about the creation of a new political unit to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the laws that would govern it.
MARADECA tapped the traditional information drive, the rekorida or the so-called mobile propaganda campaign that use a megaphone or a loudspeaker mounted on a car or pickup truck to announce the salient points of the Bangsamoro. It was conducted on October 14-30
The rekorida was done on behalf of the Mindanao Civil Society Organization Platform for Peace (MCSOPP), which sought to gather the sentiments of the residents, as well as to educate the biggest number of residents in an area.
“This activity was conducted to let the public understand and be aware of the on-going peace negotiation process, especially on the context and current status of the (Bangsamoro Basic Law) BBL,” the MARADECA said. The rekorida also wanted “to solicit issues and concerns from the different individuals from different communities with distinct culture, tradition and religion having different perception and belief to let their voices be heard”.
The main objective however, was to generate “massive support from the public especially on the grassroots level about the BBL as part of preparation for the upcoming plebiscite and 2016 elections”.
During the conduct of this activity, MARADECA noted “so many concerns brought out, with the most frequently asked questions on the following:
– why would ARMM be replaced with Bangsamoro government? What is the difference between these two?
– what happened to the word “Muslim” and the like?
– about Lake Lanao issue, on why the National Power Corp., which is being considered part of inland waters, energy sources and natural resources, still under the central government since it is part of
the National Grid?
– what justice system would govern the Bangsamoro, especially on cases of conflict between Christians and Muslims?
– in the case of Wao, Bumbaran and other areas where there are settlers or Christians, would their land and religion be taken away from them once the Bangsamoro government takes over?
The communities also raised concerns on peace and security, assurance and wanted that “corruption, conflict, dispute, and crimes would be eradicated by the new Bangsamoro government.
The residents also wanted to be clarified on what would would happen to the employees of the ARMM and to the elected officials of the local governments
“Through this activity, we have observed that some people were still doubtful, reluctant and confused. There were also some who feared the creation of the Bangsamoro government perhaps because of having limited knowledge and insufficient information about this matter,” the MARADECA said.
As a result, MARADECA said that it generated “a very positive response from the people and that they have shown their strong support for the BBL”
“They said that they were very thankful and glad for having this kind of initiatives since they were not just became informed and updated, but also they were able to address their sentiments, issues, and concerns and to dispel those rumors,” the group said.