COTABATO CITY—To recognize the hardships and contributions of former Bangsamoro combatants, a bill dedicated to create an office for the veteran Mujahideen and Mujaheedat has entered the second reading in the Parliament during the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) session on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022.
The BTA Bill No. 44 is an Act creating the Bangsamoro Veteran Mujahideen and Mujahidat Affairs Office defining its basic organizational structure, Providing Funds therefore, and for other purposes that would facilitate the formulation of institutional plans, programs and policies for the registration, processing and provision if financial assistance and other benefits to veteran mujahideens and mujaheedat that the office may provide, subject to proper assessment and evaluation.
The Bangsamoro Mujahideen Veteran Act of 2022 were among the bills referred to the Rules and Finance, Budget, and Management Committees and would be under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS).
Member of Parliament (MP) Engr. Aida Silongan, who spoke on behalf of the Government of the Day, emphasized in her sponsorship speech that having new law for the Bangsamoro Autonomy was partly due to the sacrifices of the Mujahideen and Mujaheedat, including the martyrs who unselfishly and valiantly fought hard to attain the aspirations of the Bangsamoro for self-determination.
“For more than four decades, our people have suffered from economic hardships and political neglect and still recuperating from the effects of war, not to mention the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of our political governance besetting the region,” Minister Silongan said.
“Thousands of our people have become martyrs, orphans, widows, and widowers as a result of a long protracted war for self-determination of the Bangsamoro people,” Silongan added while stressing that the struggle taken many forms and shapes, confronted many challenges and hardships, drove the Bangsamoro to peripheries and deprived from precious time to govern.
Moreover, the proposed measure will facilitate the formulation of institutional plans, programs and policies for the registrstion, processing, and provision of financial assistance and other benefits to veteran Mujahideen and Mujahidat that the office may provide, subject to proper assessment and evaluation.
MPs Said Shaik, Suwaib Latip Oranon, and Dan Sala Ansawie also delivered their sponsorship speeches for the said measure and emphasized the importance of recognizing veterans as part of their (Parliament members) moral obligation.
“Let us honor them by giving them what is due to them through moral and legal means. Let us reciprocate their struggle by taking care of them,” MP Shaik stressed.
Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) Batallion Commander Moctar Disumangcop urged the Parliament to support and pass the bill into law which will create a specific office for veterans that will give support and care.
“Most of us are old, weak [and] some are disabled now due to the trauma and effect of war that affected us, and we need assistance, particularly medical support,” Disumangcop said.
Veteran Mujahideen Abu Mansoor also expressed his support to the bill, saying, “aside from being casualties, several houses were burned during the period of our struggle and assistance for us is essential.” (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO)