The presidents of the five (5) Ateneo schools in the country have signed a joint statement calling for the immediate passage of the proposed Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which for the purpose of lasting peace based on justice, economic growth and social equity in Mindanao.

Read the statement in full below.

The Ateneo presidents join the call for the immediate passage of the proposed Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as drafted by the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC). This version hews closest to the genuine aspirations of Filipino Muslims and other marginalized sectors in Mindanao for lasting peace based on justice, economic growth, and social equity.

The law’s passage would provide a real and meaningful foundation for countering violent extremism and addressing the many other conflicts in Mindanao. We implore our legislators not to delay such passage any further.

We again express moral approval of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, and the Expanded BTC version of the Enhanced BBL. Our Catholic faith and Jesuit tradition call us to tread the pathways taken by the Prince of Peace, daring us to embrace multi-cultural openness and inter-religious dialogue.

No doubt, the journey to peace and justice remains long and difficult. But there is light that beckons at the end of the long, dark tunnel for beloved Mindanao. What the Ateneo presidents said in a joint statement on the BBL in 2015, when the law was first brought to the Philippine Senate, bears repeating: “The establishment of a Muslim region in Mindanao that is truly autonomous is mandated by the Constitution as a social justice imperative. Let this social justice no longer be postponed.”

Filipino Version

Nakikiisa ang mga pangulo ng mga pamantasang Ateneo sa Pilipinas sa panawagang isabatas agad ang mungkahing Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) na ipinanunukala ng pinalawak na Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC). Ang bersyong ito ng panukalang batas ang pinakamalapit sa mga tunay na inaasam ng mga kapatid nating Filipino Muslim at iba pang mga napag-iwanang sektor sa Mindanao para sa pangmatagalang kapayapaang batay sa katarungan, paglago ng ekonomiya, at panlipunang pagkakapantay-pantay.

Mailalatag ng batas na ito ang tunay at makabuluhang pundasyon upang kontrahin ang marahas na extremismo at tugunan ang samu’t-sari pang tunggalian sa Mindanao. Sumasamo kaming huwag nang ipagpaliban pa ng ating mga mambabatas ang pagpasa ng batas na ito.

Muli naming ipinahahayag ang moral naming pagsang-ayon sa napagkasunduan nang Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, at ang Enhanced BBL na ito. Nananawagan sa amin ang aming pananampalatayang Katoliko at ang tradisyong Heswita na lakbayin ang landas na tinahak ni Hesukristong Panginoon ng Kapayapaan, na humahamon sa ating yakapin ang pagiging bukas sa sama-samang pag-iral ng iba’t ibang kultura, at ang pagdidiyalogo ng iba’t ibang relihiyon.

Tiyak na mahaba at mahirap pa ang paglalakbay na ito tungo sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan at katarungan. Ngunit nababanaagan na ang liwanag sa dulo ng mahaba’t madilim na lagusan para sa minamahal nating Mindanao. Inuulit namin ang naipahayag na noong 2015 ng mga pangulo ng mga Ateneo nang unang talakayin ang BBL sa Senado: “The establishment of a Muslim region in Mindanao that is truly autonomous is mandated by the Constitution as a social justice imperative. Let this social justice no longer be postponed.” (Ang pagtatatag ng isang rehiyong tunay na awtonomus para sa mga kababayang Muslim sa Mindanao ay itinatakda ng Saligang Batas upang isulong ang katarungang panlipunan. Huwag nang patagalin pa ang pagkamit nitong katarungang panlipunan.)
ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Fr Karel S San Juan SJ (President, Ateneo de Zamboanga University)
Fr Joel E Tabora SJ (President, Ateneo de Davao University)
Fr Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ (President, Ateneo de Manila University)
Fr Roberto Exequiel N Rivera SJ (President, Ateneo de Naga University)
Fr Roberto C Yap SJ (President, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan)

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