POLITICIANS should not make the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) their platform to gain political advantage, Imam Council of the Philippines (ICP) president Imam Ebra Moxsir Al-Haj said on Saturday.
“The Bangsamoro peace process, at its heart, is about social justice for a segment of our population who, for decades, were made to endure gross injustices and discrimination. Using it to further a personal, political agenda will be a form of another injustice,” Moxsir explained.
On July 21, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. released a statement noting the growing concern of lawmakers fearful of losing voter support if they back the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Earlier, Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero also declared that they are against BBL while at the House of Representatives, two legislators led the filing of treason and sedition charges against members of the government peace panel and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in a move described by former Senator Saguisag as “prosecutorial terrorism.”
“President Benigno Aquino 3rd is to deliver his SONA (State of the Nation Address) next week. We are already beginning to hear in the news political rumblings and rumored pairings for 2016. It is very evident that our country is about to be gripped soon by political fever,” Moxsir said.
“They should leave the Bangsa¬moro out of it. We need to detach the process from the political noise and see the process for what it is —a democratic means being attempted to close the socio-cultural divide among the peoples of the Republic of the Philippines,”+ the imam, who also serves as Spiritual Ministry Division Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) with the rank of police superintendent, said.
Moxsir was among the non-Catholic religious leaders whom Pope Francis met when he visited the Philippines in January this year.
Sulu 1st district Rep. Tupay Loong, vice chairman of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL, said they had always known that the BBL measure that is pending in Congress will be dragged into politics.
“As they say, the Philippines has three seasons: summer, rainy, and elect¬ions. To be honest, we wanted our work on the BBL to be done before election season arrives because we know for a fact that there are those who’d make the basic law another casualty in their quest for power,” he said.
“But [the BBL]didn’t happen, and we’re nearing October. What I can personally promise is that we’d do everything in our capacity to ensure that the remaining House debates will be sober. And that the fate of the BBL will be determined by its own merits, not by political forces,” Loong said.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda agreed with Moxsir.
“Of course, we want the BBL to not be affected by politics. But for those who’d step on the process just to reach their personal, selfish goals, they’d know that the people would ultimately decide their fates,” Salceda said.
“Filipinos support the Bangsa¬moro process, not to mention peace in general. I believe peace will be one of the determining factors of next year’s elections. The people are tired of war and I can see the public voting for candidates who seek to end it permanently,” he added.