• Make the BBL a true instrument of peace


    PEOPLE who desperately want Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law are saying, rather insanely, taking their cue from our country’s de facto and PCOS-machine produced President BS Aquino, that if the BBL bill in its original form is not passed, war will break out in Mindanao.

    Just as insanely some of those who don’t want the proposed BBL passed–because they want it purged of unconstitutional provisions and not become a convenient vehicle for the MILF rulers of the new autonomous Bangsamoro region or substate to launch a movement to make it a state of Malaysia–are saying that if the MILF makes war or any kind of trouble, then the Philippine government’s police and military should welcome the opportunity to decimate the rebel separatists and raze their camps.

    This kind of crazy talk heard from the two extreme sides (which unfortunately has been heard from BS Aquino himself) does not take into consideration the peaceable words of Mr. Mohagher Iqbal, the MLF chief negotiator and principal spokesman dealing with us infidels. He has said a number of times, answering questions asking what the MILF would do if the BBL bill is not passed, that the MILF would just continue negotiating with the Philippine government side and would not abandon the peace process.

    So, congressmen and senators should not worry if, because they want to preserve the integrity of the Philippine Republic and pass a Bangsamoro Basic Law that would not violate the Constitution, they overhaul the original BBL draft that BS Aquino himself brought to the House to show his desire for Congress to pass the unconstitutional and dangerous bill.

    The original proposed BBL is dangerous. Its passage is likely to make Christians in Mindanao and the Lumads, who together make up a greater segment of the Mindanao population than the Muslims, to feel challenged, taunted and besieged. Some of them will surely revive the Ilaga and different self-protective armies.

    And since the MILF central leadership has no real control of the bands of warriors who belong to MILF army subdivisions, many of them–led by so-called “rogue” commanders like Ameril Umbra Kato and independent-minded commanders like Ustadz Zacaria Guma — are likely to readily start a war with armies of Mindanao Visayans and Lumads.

    The congressmen and senators should patiently craft a law that will really create the atmosphere and legal structures conducive to peace in Mindanao.

    Such a law will only come to be when all the people and sectors of Mindanao are consulted. This was not done properly by the present Aquino peace-process people who accepted the MILF and Malaysian-drafted BBL. The so-called consultations with “all stakeholders” were for show. The inputs of all sectors should be discussed and given consideration in the final version of the BBL.

    The existence, structure and present-level of development of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao should be treated with respect. The new autonomous region to be created should clearly be a progression from the ARMM.

    And there should be a paragraph in the amended BBL that will state our government’s and the people’s recognition of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo’s (and through the Sultanate the Philippine Republic’s) rights over Sabah.

    The BBL should be a true instrument of peace.
    * * *
    An expert, former Defense Secretary and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales wrote the following:

    c. Mishandling the Sultanate Incursion Of Sabah

    It had been the desire of mainland Malaysia to establish a formidable military presence in the state of Sabah. This was politically difficult in the past. The circumstances of the so called invasion of Sabah by the Sultanate of Sulu remain unclear, but the incident may have given the Malaysian mainland authorities a good opportunity to implement, without arousing undue suspicion among its neighbors, their long desired defense scheme in the Borneo region. In this connection, an exclusive tax for defense measures has recently been adopted by the Sabah state.

    The response of the Malaysian federal government to the so called Sultanate invasion of Sabah seemed out of proportion to the problem. But Malaysia’s defense strategic planners apparently saw it as an opportunity to accomplish their long-term goals. Even to the casual observer, such display of air, land and sea power by the Malaysian federal government took on the appearance of a fullscale federal military response to a real invasion of Sabah, rather than a simple pursuit operation against a ridiculously tiny band of very poorly armed Tausog intruders.

    However, the response of the Philippine government was unfortunate. The Palace indicated no other strategic view of the situation than an unfounded fear of jeopardizing Malaysia’s role in the on going peace talks with the MILF. It missed the strategic value of the universal sentiment across the nation in favor of revivingaction on the Sabah claim and resuscitating the Sultanate of Sulu, which the government has allowed to lie dormant despite the fact that it is the nation’s most significant historic claim.


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    1. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      12 May 2015

      The BBL is far from “perfect” as far as compliance with the Constitution is concerned. The Peace Council itself, a creation of President Aquino, has already submitted what appears to be its hurriedly written Report.

      Significantly, this Peace Council has “suggested deletion of the provision [in the BBL] that would allow an increase in the number of Bangsamoro territories through a periodic vote of residents in areas not yet under the autonomous region.”

      It is obvious that this Peace Council has failed to do a thorough job of examining the BBL for it further suggests that “If there were other ‘infirmities’ in the bill, Davide [its head] said that lawmakers should find a way ‘to correct’ these deficiencies.”

      And so, it is left for the Congress to do a good and thorough job of scrutinizing the BBL for provisions which violate the Constitution. It should not yield to any kind of pressure, from any quarter, so that it does not make the kind of grievous mistakes which later may be hard it not impossible to correct.


    2. Pass a BBL that is not violative of our Constitution and addresses the rights ande concerns of all the people in that region, not just the Moros.