XAVIER University president Fr. Roberto Yap has joined four other Ateneo presidents in calling for the immediate passage of the proposed Enhanced Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as drafted by the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC).
The five Ateneo presidents said the version hews closest to the genuine aspirations of Muslim Filipinos 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,” reads a portion of the joint statement released by the XU Communications Office.
Aside from Fr. Yap, those who signed it were Fr. Karel San Juan, president of Ateneo de Zamboanga University; Fr. Joel Tabora, president of Ateneo de Davao University; Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, president of Ateneo de Manila University; and Fr. Roberto Exequiel Rivera, president of Ateneo de Naga University.
The Ateneo presidents expressed their “moral approval” of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, and the Expanded BTC version of the Enhanced BBL.
Their joint statement continued: “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.”
They also repeated their position in 2015 when the proposed law was brought to the Senate: “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.”