BBL – Babel without the vowels


It came to me like an epiphany: if you drop the vowels from Babel (as in the tower of Babel), you get BBL.

This has led me to entertain the notion that the Biblical story of the tower of Babel can serve as a cautionary tale for Congress and the nation in discussing and debating the burning issue of the day: the proposed passage of a Bangsamoro basic law for Muslim Mindanao.

The Encyclopedia Britannica succinctly summarizes the story in this manner: “In biblical literature, [the Tower of Babel]denotes the structure built in the land of Shinar (Babylonia) some time after the Deluge. The story of its construction, given in Genesis 11: 1-9, appears to be an attempt to explain the existence of diverse human languages.

“According to Genesis, the Babylonians wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower ‘with its top in the heavens.’

“God disrupted the work by so confusing the language of the workers that they could no longer understand one another. The tower was never completed and the people were dispersed over the face of the earth.

“The myth may have been inspired by the Babylonian tower temple north of the Marduk temple, which in Babylonia was called Bab-ilu (“Gate of God”), Hebrew form Babel.”

Parallels between Babel and BBL
Now, why do I say this Biblical story should serve as a cautionary tale in the deliberations by the Senate and the House on the Bangsamoro law?

Consider the parallels.

With the BBL project, President Aquino has staked his presidency and his legacy on its realization. He aimed for the heavens in coveting the Nobel peace prize as his reward. His negotiators agreed to almost every demand of the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) in the unbelievable Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that no self-respecting state and responsible Filipino president could possibly sign.

No issue has divided our people and our country more than the BBL. In Mindanao, there is no support for the BBL, except in the areas controlled by its principal beneficiary, the MILF. In the rest of Mindanao, there is anxiety and fear of the BBL. If the original version of the bill is passed, the legislation would surely be rejected by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

The people in Mindanao — Muslims, Christians and lumads — do not understand each other’s position on the issue. There are no less than 13 different Muslim tribes and communities. All together, we have here a veritable babel of tongues.

They have to be unified by their common aspirations for this place they call home.

The BBL is an unworthy temple to worship in. It has been brought down by its delusions and extravagant expectations

When the Mamasapano incident took place on January 25, 2015, there were other casualties besides the 44 SAF commandos and eight other persons who died. Among these other casualties are (1) President Aquino’s envisioned legacy of an enduring peace in the south; (2) Malaysia’s influence in Muslim Mindanao; and (3) the dream of a separate and independent Moro state in Philippine territory.

United Mindanao and credible Bangsamoro
But paradoxically, the BBL project – for all its imperfections, errors and tragic offspring – and by going through the fire, is, in my view, bringing forth a more united Mindanao and a credible Bangsamoro Autonomous Region which Mindanao’s people and the rest of the country can support.

In the Senate, thanks to the work of three committees and the hard work and leadership of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the chamber is poised today to start debates on a substitute measure that, on careful scrutiny, addresses all the issues and concerns in Mindanao, and could open the way forward for a basic autonomy law that most everyone can support.

In the House too, the work of improving on the original BBL has moved forward as the effort to make the law constitutionally compliant has gathered strength.

Only the trio of Mr. Mohagher Iqbal, Ms. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and Ms Teresita Quintos-Deles continue to pine for the passage of the original or undiluted BBL.

Even the usually clueless Palace propaganda machine has been reduced to welcoming the substitute measure in the Senate. They see the writing on the wall.

President Aquino himself has not bestirred himself to comment on what is happening.

It is more than likely that Congress and the nation will quickly reach a consensus on what is the proper thing to do about the Bangsamoro idea and the pursuit of peace and development in Mindanao. The hardliners for or against the BBL will go to the sidelines.

Now that there is a concrete and sensible proposal to seriously discuss – in the Marcos proposal for a Bangsamoro Autnomous region (BAR) – our usually laidback senators and congressmen will be roused to do their responsibilities.

The reverse of the biblical Babel
By being inclusive of every stakeholder in Mindanao, the emerging Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) is doing the reverse of what happened in the biblical story.

In the Bible, the people disintegrated into a Babel of tongues.

In the Philippines and in Mindanao, I dare to forecast that we will see our divided people gathering together to support an autonomous Bangsamoro.

The 16th Congress will pass the law before it adjourns in June 2016. And President Aquino will see a more realistic version of his BBL dream come to life.

And that finally is how it should be. A good law must spring from the desire, striving and genius of the people.


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  1. Emerson S. Manlapas on

    Very well said Mr. Yen keep up a good work and KUDOS to Mr. BONGBONG MARCOS for the hardship and paying attention to this very vital issue regarding relationship with our brothers and sisters in Mindanao lets hope and pray that every individual should clear up their mind and understand very carefully what BBL stands for…

  2. I congratulate you for your intelligent reporting Mr. Makabenta, you are among the few reporting truthfully for our people. I am also taking this opportunity to express my deepest apprecition to Sen. Marcos for his concerned and love to our country. He is emulating the dedication and concerned his father had, which was ruined and misunderstood by the people because wrong propaganda and GREED.

  3. eltee mulawin on

    >>> May kasabihan …”Isa para sa lahat, lahat para sa isa”. Kung susuriin may kaibahan ang tinutukoy at katuturan nito.
    “ISA PARA SA LAHAT”… ibig sabihin ung kagustuhan ng MILF base sa BBL ay para sa kabutihan ng lahat ng mamayang Pilipino sa Mindanao. Pero sinong tinutukoy na mamamayan? Maranoan at Maguindanaoan ? Paano ang kabutihan ng mga Kristiano, Lumad at iba pang mga tribo at sultans?

  4. on

    The BBL which is the product of a stupid and crooked mind, is a waste time and resources of the government. In all the more than 5 years of PNoyTARD administration, he has NOT done anything good for the Philippines except sufferings of the hapless poor in the countrysides. There are scores of blunders all over the bureaucracy, vindictiveness, corruption committed (and is still being committed) by favored KKK members of PNOY. .Only Mayor Duterte can better or improve the lots of all Filipinos with his honest-to-goodness style of governance.

  5. The hand of God.

    Sen. Marcos and his hardworking core group should be given proper recognition for showing the quality of lawmaking in noosphere field – a master stroke of Filipino genius.

    Let’s hope for the best that the proposed substitute bill will be subjected to a lots of constructive barrage of questioning-the dynamics of democratic finess in lawmaking.

    Well, the estudyante blues Yellowtards may still have no idea what’s going on.

    In a nutshell, is the yellowbird at the helm a lunatic, or ignorant or totally incompetent?

  6. Vic Penetrante on

    The problem now is that the House cannot get a quorum to discus the proposals of Sen. Marcos. Representatives are still in the confusion of tongues?

  7. So in the vision of an emerging Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, who will be the peacekeepers? In the BBL it will be the MILF and the MNLF in their respective territories, while in the non-inclusive area of Mindanao it will be the Philippine military. Let it be clear to us citizens who know the history of Mindanao that the Muslims will never surrender their firearms, regardless of peace treaties because it is part of their culture and protection so is the same stance adopted by all Christians in Mindanao. Doesn’t the same situation now will be achieved even with a Muslim country basic law, if the Muslims are at a disadvantage now its because the government has not poured development and projects in their areas.

    • Maski marami ka ibuhos na pera kun ang mga “lider” ay bobo, mapupunta lang sa wala ang pera. Mahalaga na magkaron o pumili sila ng lider nila na may laman ang kukote at meron pagmamahal into sa bayan. Kun mahal nya ang bayan, hindi ito magnakaw. Kun meron laman ang utak, makakapag isip ito ng proyekto na magaangat ng antas ng ekonomiya ng kanilang lugar.

  8. Mentally retarded nga si NOYTARD kaya walang matinong gagawin para sa nakakaraming pilipino kundi gumawa ng kagaguhan tulad ng BBL.pagpayag na imasaker ang SAF44,manisi,maghiganti,manuhol,magtamad,magprotekta sa KKK,maglaro ng VIDEO games,magnoynoying at manigarilyo ang gago.

  9. Roldan Guerrero on

    It must be very clear now that the BBL is just good for the dustbin. As a taxpayer of this country, I would like to know how much money is wasted in Aquino`s forceful initiative to have BBL enacted by all means but that just landed to nothing. Aquino together with his conspirators even met with Iqbal, MILF Impostor Chief Negotiator with his groups met in Japan several times just to pursue their clandestine objectives. It was also reported that money overflowed in the lower house to bribe congressmen for its immediate approval. The government also spent huge amounts in having several meetings in Malaysia just to make negotiations between MILF and the government. Deles and Ferrer also were granted unlimited funds to conduct consultations which only resulted they did not perform on the necessary groups who are concerned in the framing of the law. Mr. Makabenta, please continue digging deeper into this mesh and let the Filipino people how Aquino spends the people`s money.