Terrorist groups will continue to thrive if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is not passed, Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo said on Sunday.
Robredo made the statement during the Harapan Bise, a debate organized by ABS-CBN, when asked what advice she will give the sitting President.
“This is something we have long feared. Until a law that addresses our Muslim brothers and sisters’ grievances and reflects their aspirations is passed, it would mean to them that we are not listening to them, and so they will be drawn to extremists like the ISIS,” Robredo said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The proposed law will create a Bangsamoro Region, which will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Congress, however, failed to pass the measure because of the killing of 44 police commandos by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in January 2015.
“In the event that ISIS reaches our shores, our government should act swiftly. But we should not wait for that to happen and move to pass a law that would address the concerns not only of the Muslims, but also of Christians, indigenous peoples, in Mindanao,” Robredo said.
“It would be tougher to fight extremism if we will just react and not take a preventive action,” she added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Escudero vowed that he and Sen. Grace Poe will work to eradicate poverty, which he called “public enemy number 1.”
“We will slay hunger not the hungry, kill poverty, not the poor, because by doing that we will be able to lead the country toward genuine progress,” Escudero said.
Escudero dodged an attack by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on his supposed failure to participate in anti-corruption hearings of the Senate.
Cayetano was asked by one of the panelists about his weakness, but instead of answering directly, the senator praised himself as the only candidate who is willing to engage in a fight when it comes to corruption unlike Escudero who he alleged has done nothing against the corrupt.
Escudero dismissed Cayetano’s allegation.
He said he authored two laws that seek to prevent a repeat of atrocities of martial law: Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act, passed in 2009, and RA 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act, passed in 2012.
“I was the primary author and sponsor of the law that required the compensation of human rights victims,” Escudero added.