Global Associate Helps Craft Bangsamoro Organic Law

Dear Friends:

Warm greetings from Manila!

I am thrilled to announce that on July 26, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The BOL will address Muslim Filipinos’ decades-long struggle for self-determination, and is the result of a long peace-building process in which we are very proud to have played a role. The Goldin Institute Philippines has worked hard for a number of years to establish trust between former combatants by working directly with communities in our home province of Manguindanao, a section of the island of Mindanao that has a mixed population including Muslims and Christians, and a long history of violent insurgency. Now that the BOL has been signed into law, it will hopefully be ratified in a plebiscite, and then the rebel groups will participate in more work on peacebuilding and conflict transformation to improve their quality of life and become productive members of their communities.

I have been honored to play a personal role in the peace process for more than a year as a commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. Being one of the Christian members of this 21-member panel was a great challenge but it also has been deeply rewarding. I was selected for this role because of my advocacy for people at the grassroots as a Goldin Institute Global Associate and because my colleagues and contacts at Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) nominated me for this position.

We in the Goldin Institute Philippines created a coalition of members of civil society, non-governmental organizations, the military, armed guerillas and parents to support initiatives such as Access to Clean Water Project, through which we installed pumping units at over 100 schools to provide safe water to over 40,000 students. As in many places around the world, access to safe water is a major issue in our region, and it is all the more challenging to install these pumps in areas where military operations were ongoing as well as flooding and other natural disasters. Last year, four of our pumps were installed in a village with a mixed Christian and Muslim population during a time the whole region was under martial law as armed guerillas battled the Philippine Armed Forces.

The support of the Goldin Institute’s Board of Advisors has been essential to the Clean Water Project, as are grants from private philanthropies like the LUSH Foundation. We have been advocating for human rights for women and orphans in partnership with other stakeholders since 2012.
Now with the BOL, we are hopefully entering a new era of peace and productivity in our region. The challenge for us in the GI-Philippines is to expand our services and partnerships on the ground.

Please help us pray that the BOL will bring about just and lasting peace for our people - this is our dream.

Sending warm thoughts and regards to all.
Susana Anayatin, Global Associate