Press Release
April 3, 2013


Today is a historical event that gives our people a chance to correct many flawed policies of the past. We must remember that:

ONE: We cannot resurrect inhumane policies brought to our shores by many colonizers who believed that Moros, because they were different, must be EXCLUDED, DISCRIMINATED, and even ERADICATED from this country.

SECOND: We cannot be a country that deprives its people of their right to self-determination. The right to be recognized as a people with a separate culture and history and to be accepted as equals, living under one roof called the Republic of the Philippines.

THIRD: We cannot be a nation that writes laws like Commonwealth Act 141 which declared all Moro ancestral lands as public land. A few simple strokes of the pen which dispossessed and displaced fellow Filipinos and uprooted them from the lands that belonged to their ancestors and communities since time immemorial.

In correcting these flawed moments of history, you, the members of the Transition Commission, must remember the words of Edilwasif Baddiri:

"The Philippines' policies of attraction, integration, and assimilation rest on the mistaken premise that the Muslim People of the Philippines and the Christian Filipinos are one and the same people. This premise fails to recognize the significant differences in history and religion of the two peoples."

In crafting future policies, including the Bangsamoro Basic Law, always remember that we all have the duty to recognize differences amongst all people while we discharge our Constitutional duty to accord equality. We should be guided by "The Political Thought of Salamat Hashim" where he states:

"We are two different peoples adhering to different ideologies, having different cultures, and nurtured by different historical experiences."

We must be committed to policies that enhance, promote, and respect diversity amongst our people. In closing, allow me to quote John Hume, 1998 Nobel Laureate for Peace:

"Difference is the essence of humanity.

Difference is an accident of birth and, it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict.

The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity."

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