PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday expressed disappointment over a paid advertisement purportedly signed by retired generals, some of whom are close to him, that rejected the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as the tool that could end conflict in Mindanao.
In an interview, Aquino said he read the advertisement that gave him “a number of thoughts.” He said he is willing to sit down and talk with the retired officers to clarify their opposing views.
“Meron ba silang minumungkahi sa MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front)? Iyong pagbababa ng armas, pagtatanggal ng uniporme, pagtatanggal ‘nung command structure… Apat ‘yung hinihingi nila e. Ang maliwanag sa akin doon, wala naman kapalit. Meron bang negosasyon na puro hingi at walang bigay? Di ba? Iyan ang tinatawag na ‘give and take’ (Do they have a proposal to the MILF? Such as the laying down of arms, decommissioning of commands… Are there negotiations where all you do is ask and not give anything in return?)” the president said.
He was referring to an open letter from the group of retired generals from the military, police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection and other uniformed services which said that the BBL is not the solution to the age-old conflicts in Mindanao.
Aquino however noted that the open letter was more critical than recommendatory. He said that it could do more harm than good as the public could grow anxious over the issue at hand.
He lamented that some of those who signed the letter were his friends and some were even members of the Cabinet security cluster and they could have just discussed the matter with him.
He urged the members of the group to find time to listen to him, especially those he had worked with in the past.