• No BBL, just weeping and gnashing of teeth


    The maternity ward of the 16th Congress of the Philippine republic will not announce today—the last day of its regular session—the delivery or birth of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

    Delivery has been deferred to a later time—probably October. The expectant parents of the bill are still expecting. But the womb needs some tending to, because the fetus is diseased.

    The bill could not be voted on, because it did not pass muster in the House plenary. The Senate would not be rushed to produce an acceptable measure to vote on.

    There is some weeping and gnashing of teeth in Malacañang and some parts of the archipelago.

    Chief among the mourners is President BS Aquino, who is the main architect of the BBL, and who hoped to make it the centerpiece of his final State of the Nation Address on July 27.

    Looking forlorn are the legislators (congressmen and senators) who were ready with their Yes votes for the BBL, and were itching to get the promised monetary rewards. What happens to a bribe deferred? Can you turn it into an IOU from Aquino?

    Those who will gnash their teeth like biblical figures are Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Teresita Quintos-Deles, Mohagher Iqbal and Murad Ibrahim. They will weep and wail over the lost billions of public money that would have flowed to the Bangsamoro entity had the BBL been passed.

    Elsewhere there will be celebrations today. Fittingly, on the eve of the commemoration of the 117th year of Philippine independence, we Filipinos are feeling again a sense of pride in our country and ourselves. All of a sudden, our flag, our land, our Constitution, our very name and anthem — all feel new again.

    Consensus for peace, not war
    Of all the idiocies uttered during the BBL debate, none has been more persistent than the idea that war will erupt in Mindanao and body bags will proliferate if the BBL is not passed. Mindanaons have unanimously rejected this fatalism. Our soldiery and police dismiss it. The MILF itself has stated that non-passage of the BBL will not mean their return to war.

    President Aquino, who himself raised the body-bags bogeyman, is isolated with his loony talk, which ranks up there with his comparison of China to Nazi Germany.

    The fundamental reality remains. There is a strong consensus for peace among all stakeholders in Mindanao. Both proponents and opponents of the BBL want peace to prevail. No one has renewed the call for all-out war, which was raised immediately after the massacre of the 44 SAF commandos. As tempers have cooled, there is more confidence in the ceasefire and the peacekeeping measures.

    ARMM: Rallying point and source of hope
    Most significant, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which Aquino, with his loose lips, dismissed as “a failed experiment,” is proving to be a rallying point for many people in Mindanao. ARMM is providing government its area of jurisdiction. Many now think that perhaps the best approach to long-term peace and stability in Mindanao lies in amending and upgrading the ARMM law, which is fully constitutional and has weathered a plebiscite.

    Peace in the Philippine South does not require the Republic to make dangerous and irreversible territorial concessions in Mindanao in return for the promises of rebel groups.

    The way the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the BBL were written, the MILF’s promises and guarantees are written on sand. It will proclaim statehood the moment a Bangsamoro law is approved by Congress.

    In writing the substitute bill for the BBL, Senator Bongbong Marcos must ensure that the proposed law will really give peace and justice a chance. This the CAB did not do because foreign influences dictated the process and substance of the negotiations.

    Three priorities to save peace process
    In an op-ed piece for the Times, former UN Ambassador Lauro Baja mapped out persuasively what seems to me the sensible way forward, in order to save the peace process. He wrote, and I will quote him at length:

    “The first priority is to regain ownership and leadership of the peace process. Only an agreement conceived and born out of domestic efforts by all stockholders will succeed because it will embody the realities and dynamics on the ground. The original sin can be traced to the time when we decided to internationalize what should have been an internal issue, in the process bestowing status of belligerency and hubris on the other side.

    “Undue importance was given to the role of a motley group of nations and groups which may have their own agenda. The decision to choose Malaysia as facilitator is unwise and ill-advised. There is a growing realization that the Bangsamoro documents were drafted in, by, and for, Kuala Lumpur…

    “The second priority is to recalibrate the process and take advantage of lessons learned from history. It is important to keep in mind that the vision of the leaders from the other side has always been a separate state for Bangsamoro. Any agreement must be representative of all stakeholders…The success of any agreement will depend on the political will from both sides and will be a quantum leap of faith and trust, especially from the MILF.

    “The third priority is to end the debilitating debates where rhetoric and emotions often reign, and divide rather than unite the nation. A mission which aims for a perfect document is a recipe toward a perfect storm. There should be no rush to enact. After all, the important aspect of implementation of any law will slide into the next administration…

    “The nation is divided on the BBL. It is time for the actors on both sides to come out of the shadows and pursue their common vision, their common mission of peace, justice and sustainable development in Mindanao. As one poet has said, somewhere between right and wrong there is a garden, let us meet there.

    “Enlightened leadership, honesty and mutual trust and understanding are needed. What should come out from all these debates should be one that will ensure that the people on the ground will be the winners.”

    Wise words, indeed, which I gladly endorse. Meeting in the garden as suggested by the good ambassador is better than gnashing your teeth.



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    1. While it is true that the intent of the BBL is unity and progress in the areas of Mindanao, it should be taken into consideration that the rebel groups can never be trusted. It is a fact that through all those years past, they have never proven themselves to be trust worthy. The leaders of these fragmented ragtag group of armed insurgents obviously have their own hidden agenda that will forcibly pursue once they are granted the right or freedom of self government. These agendas they have in their own selfish selves is never directed towards the good of the nation as a whole but to successfully ruin the now stable state of our nation. Remember that are all still armed and very capable of war and destruction again at any given moment. the BBL should be dumped like stinking garbage and let time take its course for the rebels to realize that the ideology they are following is mortally flawed.

    2. The peace process continues on.. We just need to hang in there.. Peace and economic development is still possible though delayed. BBL addresses the concerns and aspirations of the Filipino Muslims. Kapit lang. Let’s pray for the best!

    3. Sana hindi matunton ng mga ahas (tulad ni Lucifer) ang hardin na kung saan puwedeng pagusapan ng maayos ang tama at mali at baka maimpeksyon o mapeste ang mga halaman duon. Sana, alisin na sa isip nila Iqbal (whoever you are), Murad, Jaafar (kung mga totoo nyo itong pangalan) ung isipin o VISION nila na paghiwalay sa Pilipinas. MAHIHIRAPAN KAYO! Here’s my unsolicited advice: THE THREE OF YOU PLUS THE GANG, PROCEED TO MALAYSIA WHERE YOU ARE MOST WELCOMED. For sure, in tow would be Abnoy, Deles, Ferrer, Rufus, Leonen plus the junket of tongressmen/women and senatongs…. ADIOS!!!

    4. ISIS can do it by beheading and power of the barrel of the gun. BBL by negotiation and legislation.

    5. P.Akialamiro on

      The flaws of the proposed BBL have been bared. By the same token, the incompetence and biases of the government negotiators against the integrity of the country are also bared. Ergo: Fire the government negotiators and charge them fior treason..

    6. yen read the column of jojo robles in the manila times entitled ‘our own balkan state’. if true na-pusoy na ang pilipinas kasi pwedeng dalhin ng milf-malaysia sa united nations ang isyu ng self rule. ebidensya nila ay ang maraming dokumentong pinirmahan sila boy sisi c/o ferrer, deles atbp pabor sa milf at witnessed by foreign countries. kahit hindi aprubahan ng kongreso as a whole ang BaBaLa o ibasura ng supreme court, sa united nations tayo madadale gawa ng kabulastugan ni boy sisi at mga tauhan nya

      • Odnalor Obirt on

        Para sa akin okey na dalhn sa United Nation ang BBL dahil mga Educated People ang hahatol ditto. Ang BBL ay tunay na maraming hindi makakapasa sa International Law kahit nakalagay doon na “in accordance to International Law” . Walang Specific International Law ang kanilang inilagay.

    7. Alejo Rosete on

      We have the ARMM already – just upgrade it.
      Failed experiment according to BS Aquino.
      What about the BBL – failed totally. Dead on
      arrival at the Hospital.

      Sa loob pa lang ng tiyan ay patay na.

      President BS Aquino is a total failure.

    8. Numerous events have conspired to let BBL be in still-born. People were aroused by what happened to the SAF 44. As one blogger have pointed out, it was divine intervention. Quite difficult to understand as it cost the lives of 44 brave SAF policemen. But God’s ways are not our ways. “My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours. As high as the heaven above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9) The 44 SAF policemen certainly are smiling out there.
      Credit also goes to the oppositions for standing their ground. Senators Marcos and Santiago, and some congressmen deserve commendation. Also columnists for saying their piece in opposition to the BBL. I also believe BBL is Kuala Lumpor’s Trojan horse. May all the people continue to be vigilant.

    9. Lerma P. Jacinto on

      Thank you to the lawmakers both in congress and senate for listening to the the sentiments of the majority of the Filipino people, for upholding our Constitution. And for showing patriotism, by not being subservient to the whims of Malacanang.

    10. From the US side of the Pacific, it appears as though Mr. Makabenta has become the voice of reason and the conscience of the Philippine people. Perhaps in the future, the people will elect those that share his wisdom, courage and love of country.

    11. genesisbughaw on

      Wow! that’s a great sense of unifying undertone and realities on the ground sets in.



      On the ligther side.

      Sabi po ni Senator Marcos; Mr President, Fire Purisima!

      E si bubwit ng tanungin ko tama ba yon?

      E ang sagot po akin e ganito; Mr. Purisima, Fire your Commander In Chief!

    12. I still believe that the ARMM should be pursued! Firstly, it already a law and we are poor in implementing the law! Second, with all it’s problem, we can find a solution for it! For the BBL, it is starting out to be problematic constitutionally!

    13. Vic PenetranteVic on

      An operation is needed to remove the diseased fetus from the womb of mother Congress. Father Executive is anxiously praying, hoping a miracle could save his child.

    14. Thanks to Lobregat (for his five hours of questioning the BBL) and to all of the opposition for derailing the BBL. Junk it and all documents made with the MILF. Remove the MILF from any negotiations. Amend the ARMM, as the right way to proceed.

      • laguatanlawZen.com on

        Yes, I fully agree with your opinion VG that the best alternative solution is to amend the ARMM law rather than waste the resources of the country for a useless debate. Say NO to BBL passage.

    15. Finally there is some sense in the congressmen and senators not passing the BBL!!

      I hope that this continues. The people should keep the vigilance to make sure that this kind of BBL laws not be enacted. WE should thank all the columnists and newsmen who raised the questionable issues to the consciousness of the public.

    16. The lives of our Fallen 44 have not been in vain. That fateful event in Mamasapano has triggered the ‘awakening’ of the Filipino nation to the dangers of the hastily-crafted BBL. The extreme sacrifice of the fallen heroes makes tomorrow’s Independence Day celebration even more meaningful – free from the treasonous designs of its own leaders.

      • Rogelio Feir on

        In fact i strongly believe that the sacrifice of the SAF44 is a Divine intervention.

    17. CESAR R. VILLA on

      ..but somewhere between right and wrong there is a garden…let us meet there. A nice gem of thought by its author …a real positive outlook indeed to ensure that “peace must prevail in our land”.Nakakasuka ang laging kaguluhan at nakakapagod na ang laging mahirap..It’s time for us to feel united and strong once more: one nation..one ideology..FOR THE GREATNESS OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE..

    18. During Congress deliberations of past weeks, Romualdez and other oppositionists wanted an explicit demilitarization timetable to be part of baBALA bill. Deles of OPAPP responded that such paragraphs do not need to be written into the bill and disarmament can start very shortly AFTER PresiNoy issues an Executive Order.
      — PresiNoynoy has been humiliated by the MILF. Mamapasano Jan 25 SAF-44 murders is a super-huge insult to President Noynoy. He should immediately issue an executive order for a schedule (week-by-week, number of weapons/types decommissioned) to be presented to Congress and AFP and then for the disarmament to begin.