Peace, also media’s concern

ZAMBOANGA CITY The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) acknowledged the crucial role the media plays in helping the Filipino people better understand the Bangsamoro peace process.

Their (media) role is to make our people informed so that any decision to be made will be an informed decision, Commissioner Jose Lorena of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) told journalists at a media forum held here on Saturday, June 23.

Dubbed Understanding the Bangsamoro Peace Process, the forum was organized by OPAPP to provide members of media the proper context and a deeper perspective of the national government's efforts to implement the Bangsamoro peace process.

We have won the first table because we have entered into agreements with the Moro fronts. And now we are translating them into a law, Lorena explained.

But there is a need for an understanding from the bigger table, which is the stakeholders, in order to win the ground, he added.

According to Lorena, having conversations with members of media will give government the upper hand in disseminating to the public much-needed information on the BBL and updating them on the latest developments regarding the proposed law.

The roadmap for peace of the President is to converse, to have more conversations with our people, he said. Basically, the final verdict will definitely come from the people. So we have to reach out to them.

In the same forum, Deputy Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Nabil Tan highlighted the importance of the forum, saying it is essential for media � being the fourth estate � to have a good grasp of the issues related to the Bangsamoro peace process.

Dahil pag hindi naitindihan ng media, lalo na yung context ng mga subject matter, ay iba ang bitaw sa public (If the media don't understand, especially the context of the subject matter, the delivery changes), Tan said.

To address this concern, he urged the press to get the right information from the right source.

Tan also emphasized the need for the public to overcome long-held biases and misconceptions against the Bangsamoro peace process.

For instance, he noted that non-Muslim residents who currently live within the proposed Bangsamoro core territory think they will automatically become Bangsamoro citizens once the BBL is passed into law.

If you read the law, you can choose not to ascribe yourself as a Bangsamoro and remain as a Christian (or) a Tausug, Tan explained.

Hindi po Muslim issue ito (This is not a Muslim issue). This is a Mindanao and national issue.

Tan also underscored the need for the national government to implement all the signed peace agreements it has forged with the various rebel groups.

If the government doesn't implement these peace agreements, mahihirapan po tayo (we will have a hard time), he said.

Tan said the realization of these agreements will be instrumental in putting an end to the narrative of conflict in the region.

He said he is optimistic that the proposed BBL will be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte by July this year.

It's giving the people the wherewithal to progress, to transform themselves from a combatant to a non-combatant to achieve a better quality of life, which is the objective the normalization process, Tan said. (OPAPP)

Source: Philippine News Agency