Members of the Peace Council held their first meeting Monday at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila, focusing on the provisions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and organizing themselves into clusters that would discuss key issues.
President Benigno Aquino III formed the council in late March to work for the passage of the BBL after the public outrage following the January 25 Mamasapano incident.
Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., Ambassador Howard Dee, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and youth leader Bai Rohaniza (Honey) Sumndad-Usman were joined by other co-convenors—peace advocates, educators, economists and social justice champions.
The convenors organized clusters around four topics: Constitutionality and Forms and Powers of Government (chaired by Davide); Justice, including Social Justice and Human Development (co-chaired by Sumndad-Usman); Economy and Patrimony (chaired by Ayala); and Human Security.
The clusters will hold in-depth sessions in succeeding days and conclude by April 18, when they are expected to share their output and future activities to the plenary.
Davide reminded the group that “the hard work begins after the BBL is passed.”
Sumndad-Usman for her part shared the perspective of a young Muslim woman “whose future will be immensely influenced by the passage of the BBL.”
Ayala emphasized that the group is an independent body committed to helping the general public understand what is at stake in the BBL, identify contentious issues, and help find a path towards reconciling divergent views.
The co-convenors included Archbishop Soc Villegas, Fr. Joel Tabora, Bishop Pablo David, Amina Rasul, Lawyer Christian Monsod, Dean Sedfrey Candelaria, Dean Danilo Concepcion, Prof. Moner Bajunaid, Pat Sarenas, Lawyer Nasser Marohomsalic, Dr. Cielito Habito, John Perrine, Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta, Bishop Efraim Tendero, Lawyer Marlon Manuel, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, and Ramon del Rosario.