• MNLF given role in Marcos’ BBL

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    PURSUING PEACE Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. shakes the hand of MILF vice chairman and chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal after delivering his sponsorship speech. Also in photo is chief government peace negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    PURSUING PEACE Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. shakes the hand of MILF vice chairman and chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal after delivering his sponsorship speech. Also in photo is chief government peace negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has given a key role to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

    Under Senate Bill 2894, a substitute bill to the Malacañang- proposed SB 2408 commonly known as BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), the MNLF will be part of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which shall be the interim government or governing body in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region during the transition period.

    Marcos on Wednesday formally presented the bill to the Senate, which he said in his sponsorship speech “would guarantee the protection of our national interest and reserves to the national government its powers enshrined under [the]Constitution”.

    The MNLF had been totally left out in the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF), the senator said in a statement sent to The Manila Times.

    Section 196 of Article 15 (Transition Period) of SB 2894 provides that a representative of the MNLF will be appointed by the President as a member of the BTA.

    “The MNLF was not given any participation under the original BBL version, that’s why I included them in the BTA in my substitute bill. In fact, in the public hearings which I had conducted, I had invited them and all the other stakeholders because I consider them as partners in this endeavor of finally bringing peace to Mindanao,” Marcos said.

    The BTA will be composed of 60 members, which include all the incumbent members of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Legislative Assembly, and those who will be appointed by the President from the women sector, settler communities, non-Moro inhabitants, other essential stakeholders and the MNLF.

    The MILF, being the principal party to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, shall enjoy preference in the appointment to the BTA, both in its leadership and membership.

    Last Monday, Marcos, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, filed SB 2894, shortly titled “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” under Committee Report 200, which he described as all-inclusive because it contained applicable advocacies, positions and proposals from all the stakeholders that he had called during the period of public hearings.

    If enacted into law, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) will be established, replacing the present ARMM, which will be abolished.

    Other stakeholders called by Marcos to the public hearings were the Sultanate of Sulu, indigenous people, religious and youth groups, legal luminaries, labor and peasant groups, local government units and other concerned organizations.

    Marcos had conducted a total of 12 public hearings and one briefing, which started on September 23, 2014, plus two separate hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes headed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The last hearing was on June 9.

    One hearing each was conducted in Cotabato City, Marawi City, Tawi-Tawi, Jolo and Zamboanga City.

    “Our version of the basic law for the BAR fulfills the duty that we in this august chamber must fulfill, to protect the national interests of the Republic of the Philippines,” Marcos said in his sponsorship speech.

    The basic law, according to him, addresses the most important prerequisite to peace, which is the definitive end to armed conflict by providing an efficient, verifiable program of disarmament and demobilization, overseen by an independent monitoring body and providing the needed financial and social assistance to former fighters to become peaceful and productive members of society.

    “It renounces war as an instrument of policy, and instead provides the governing structures and dispute resolution mechanisms needed to create a peaceful society managed through means that are morally and practically superior to armed conflict,” Marcos stated.

    In his speech, he also acknowledged widows of the 44 slain police commandos and their families who have shown grace by choosing the righteous path of peace and have not responded with violent revenge.

    Marcos said they asked only that justice be served and chose the peaceful path despite knowing that the government failed to honor their fallen loved ones with decency, respect and honor befitting those who have given their lives for the country.

    “They choose the path of peace. And so shall we. Our heroes died for peace, and we honor them because a country without heroes is a country without a soul,” he added.

    Marcos said in accepting the challenge of crafting the law he made a commitment to correct the many flaws of the original BBL and come up with a version that is all-embracing, inclusive of all who have been tragically affected by the conflict as well as every Filipino.

    From the very beginning, he added, the BBL and the “comprehensive” agreement from which it was derived were not inclusive.

    The government, Marcos said, has resorted to secret meetings held in faraway places, disregarded the constitutional authority of the in deliberating treaties, granted hastily every demand of the MILF and excluded other stakeholders.

    In rewriting the new basic law, he added, the committee considered several principles including the primacy of the Constitution, autonomy of the constituent local government units of the BAR, checks and balances and bravery and heroism of the 44 policemen, among others.

    Marcos said his version of the bill fulfills the desires of the Bangsamoro people for meaningful autonomy.

    While the committee recognized that substantial fund need to be pumped into the BAR for rehabilitation and development purposes, he added, they acknowledged too that other regions and local government units are equally in need of the same funding support.

    Marcos said the Senate local government committee also deemed it essential, given the history of secessionist armed struggle in Mindanao, that the proposed basic law will never be a vehicle for the establishment of an independent state.

    Last among these important guiding principles, according to him, is that peace in Muslim Mindanao cannot be achieved without an effective normalization process.

    Marcos said the normalization process under SB 2894 follows the United Nations principles of “DDR”–or disarmament, demobilization and reintegration–to attune and peg the milestones of the normalization efforts to internationally acceptable standards.

    An integral component of the normalization process, he added, is the decommissioning of forces.

    Under SB 2894, the decommissioning shall continue to be implemented and supervised by the independent decommissioning body but with enhanced functions and auxiliary support from government.

    “Peace is the first step on an endless golden road to the future. Peace leads to order, which leads to progress, which leads to prosperity and dignity for all. Peace is in the soul of our nation. It is what our heroes, the brave Special Action Force 44 and so many before them, fought and gave their last breath to achieve,” Marcos said.

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    14 Comments

    1. thank you Sen Marcos for including mnlf in the peace process. hindi po kami binaliwala kagaya ng ginawa ni pnoy, lahat po ngayon ay naging kalmado sa ginawa ninyo

    2. laguatanlawzen.com on

      I salute you Sen. Bongbong Marcos. Really you manifest the gravitas and erudite brilliance of your late father Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. I hope God Almighty will bless you that you will soon become our next President. The present crops of presidentiables are nothing but lightweight mediocre politicians whose objectives is to dip their fingers into the coffers of government and pocket billions of pesos. Kawawa and Pinas under the leadership of PIGNOY.

    3. Back to square one.
      Bong just return the land your dictator dad stole from the moros which are now yours and your family.

    4. He is the man who loves his people and his nation. The only senator who had brain and balls. Mabuhay ka po bagong Presidente ng Pilipinas. Ikaw ang kailangan ng mamayang Filipino hindi ang puro paepal na wala sa gawa.. dahil wala nmn silang utak.

    5. Roldan Guerrero on

      I doubt MILF will accept the substitute bill. The “PIGNOY” has promised them the moon and the stars, even going to the extent of breaking the laws and the constitution…The BBL is really designed to be forced into enactment as it will be the new state if succesfully created, will be used as haven for the PIGNOY and his accomplicess to avoid indictment of their crimes.

    6. Change the title of the Law Filipinomoro Autonomous Region as bangsa means state or nation..Is the moros not a Filipino?

      • vagoneto rieles on

        They are not.. but don’t take my word on this. Ask them. I had met a few of them, who were undocumented, in Saudi Arabia; and interviewed them for employment in some of our projects there, then. They denied being Filipinos, claiming that they were ‘mujaheddin’. They were all from Jolo, Sulu.

    7. In a talk shown in a popular website about why insurgency thrives in many places in the world including the Hamas and ISIS in the middleeast one of the reasons the speaker, who made extensive research on the matter, identified is that the insurgents provide hope to people suffering from the ineptitude and corruption of government. I am happy with the manner and process of Sen Marcos in extensively consulting with the stakeholders most affected by the proposed law. I am sure that out of these consultations it has become clear that the basic concerns of the people in Mindanao has been identified and will be addressed. Ending the armed conflict will come as a matter of course without going into an all out war as advocated by some ultra rightists and all within the confines of the constitution that ensures the integrity and supremacy of the Philippines as our nation and country. I am inspired by Sen Marcos I personally believe he is the only hope in the current morass of the dirty politics we now have. Go bong bong I hope you declare your candidacy very soon.

    8. After MILF is provided billions of Peso (depriving other more worthy sectors of society of desperately needed resources), and MILF sets up an autonomous government complete with Sharia law courts and an armed police force made up of previous terrorists, what will Malacanang do when they declare independence? Besides displaying a pitiful feigned expression of impotent surprise, they will do nothing, as they are not capable of doing anything, as evidenced daily in the news. This not only foreseeable, but is certain to occur. If the pattern is repeated in Mindanao as elsewhere in the world where Islam rules, woe be to the Christians and Indigenous people, as they will certainly be ruthlessly persecuted, exiled, or rounded up and shot en mass becoming victims of genocide.

      • Agree 100%,
        What is surprising is the lack of foresight demonstrated by the government officials.
        Doesn’t President Aquino have any competent friends that need a job or are the ones currently running the agencies into ruin are it ?

    9. Very nice. Finally something sensible. Truly only greater minds have the capacity to embrace a the bigger picture much more to a national scale. Certainly Deles and Ferrer are brilliant minds either focused to the needs and dictates of Malaysia and MILF or mediocre brains brimming with arrogance thinking there are no alternatives to their self proclaimed hallowed BBL version. Thank you Senator FRMarcos for your brilliance and patriotism. I believed you learned from the best.

    10. Samuel Santos on

      YES to Senate Bill 2894, NO to SB 2408. Let’s have lasting PEACE in Mindanao. MABUHAY ang Pilipinas.

    11. JOSHUA DILAO PARADERO on

      At last there’s still hope for peace and security for our people in Mindanao, and somebody in our government who still cares and knows what he is doing. Senator Maros ,you made us proud again to be Filipinos,