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Bangsamoro Basic Law

After President Rodrigo Duterte certified the Bangsamoro Basic Law as urgent [1], the Philippine Congress approved the proposed law on May 31, 2018 [2]. A bicameral meeting between the Senate and House of Representatives is currently taking place to decide which aspects of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law will be a part of the approved Bangsamoro Basic Law. The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law introduces the establishment of a self-governing political entity for the Moro people of the Philippines. The Moro people are a minority group within the Philippines that have been fighting for social and political recognition for years. The proposal of the Bangsamoro Basic Law is part of a signed preliminary peace agreement between the Filipino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front presented by the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) [3]. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is a group based in Mindanao, Philippines that has been fighting for the autonomy of the Bangsamoro people [4]. The approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is the result of ongoing peaceful political negotiations that have been taking place for the last two decades.

In October of 2012, Philippines’ ex-President Benigno Aquino organized a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In this deal, the idea of a potential autonomous region for the Moro people was acknowledged by the Filipino government [5]. The framework of this agreement was that the Filipino government would recognize the Mindanao region as a semi-independent Muslim area with their own resources, police, and sharia law. In return, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was expected to stop any kind of armed movement against the Filipino government [6]. This deal was not greatly effective as the Moro people still did not feel that they were being acknowledged by the government, leading to the continuation of disagreements. In March of 2014, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a final peace deal with the Philippines government known as the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro [7]. This peace deal entailed greater political autonomy in the southern Mindanao region and initiated the steps toward recognizing the Bangsamoro as a valid identity.

Fred Lubang and Mitzi Austero in front of the United Nations Headquarters for the #WearOrange Campaign of IANSA (

Nonviolence Southeast Asia has worked with the different components of the peace process between the government of Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Fred Lubang and Mitzi Austero of Nonviolence Southeast Asia have been assisting in forging a connection between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Filipino government through various peacemaking efforts. Fred and Mitzi emphasize the use of capacity building within the peace-building process in Philippines. Capacity building is the process of building and developing skills, abilities, and resources that help individuals, communities, and organizations better succeed. Mitzi teaches how to do process documentation as part of capacity building while Fred teaches weapons and explosives management training and photography.

Fred and Mitzi’s work involves engaging the Bangsamoro people and other communities to build trust and to impart peace values into their everyday work. They have started many initiatives that implement peacebuilding components within them. Nonviolence Southeast Asia started the Building Peace by Teaching Peace Programme in 2009 in Pattani, Thailand. This program aims to reach out to schools through providing trainings and support for teachers on peace education. Since 2009, a large number of teachers have been trained to teach about peace within the classroom in the form of peace education. An example of this is that Math teachers are taught to describe mathematical problems in ways that promote peace. Instead of saying “divided” for division, they say “sharing.” ’10 divided by 5’ becomes ’10 shared with 5.’ Teachers and schools are also awarded an Exemplary Award for Building Peace by Teaching Peace to show gratitude towards those who have exhibited continuous efforts to teach peace have changed perspectives and helped build peaceful communities. As Fred Lubang says, “The teachers are agents of change, considered second parents and classrooms, our second homes. Teachers bridge the gap of a polarized community. Teachers are powerful and effective brokers of peace [8].” As the future of the Bangsamoro region is being decided, Nonviolence Southeast Asia’s efforts ensure that peace will remain vital, which definitely promises a brighter future.

Fred Lubang with recipients of the Exemplary Award for Building Peace by Teaching Peace in a 2013 Award Ceremony


[1] Marcelo, Ver. “Duterte Certifies Proposed BBL as Urgent.” CNN. May 29, 2018. Accessed June 07, 2018.ñas-rodrigo-duterte-BBL-urgent.html.

[2] Fernandez, Butch, and Jovee Maree N. Dela Cruz. “Congress Passes BBL after Senate’s Marathon Voting Session.” Business Mirror. May 31, 2018. Accessed June 07, 2018.

[3] Alviar, Maecy. “Philippine Lawmakers Approve Bangsamoro Basic Law.” AA. May 31, 2018. Accessed June 19, 2018.

[4] Reuters Staff. “Philippines, Muslim Rebels Sign Final Peace Deal to End Conflict.” Reuters. March 27, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2018.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Yap, Lau Seng. “Will the Bangsamoro Peace Process Succeed?” The Diplomat. December 08, 2017. Accessed June 19, 2018.

[7] Ibid.

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