THE non-government Philippine Council of Management (Philcoman), through its director and spokesman, Bernard Karganilla, has asked if discussion of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not an “exercise in futility” given that a protagonist, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “does not renounce terrorism and other acts of violence, surrender its armaments, pledge allegiance to the Philippine Constitution, shed off its belligerency and refrain from seeking intervention from foreign powers.”
In a recent meeting, members of the Philcoman board of directors unanimously agreed that the solution to the problem in the South is not passage of the BBL but strengthening of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and strict enforcement of the gun ban and prosecution of violators of the ban.
“Unless the government removes the guns from terrorists and criminal elements, there is no way you can achieve peace in Mindanao,” Dr. Cecilio Arillo, Philcoman president, said in a statement.
In doubting the sincerity of the MILF in helping the government in achieving lasting peace in southern Philippines, Philcoman, “dedicated to the development of management and improvement of its practices in all aspects of the Philippine society,” challenged the separatist front to dismantle the “mantiqi” (operating cells and networks) of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist organizations in Mindanao.
BIFF is a breakway group of the MILF.
Meanwhile, Philcoman said, “Right now, the government is negotiating with the MILF at the point of [the separatist organization’s]guns and is often threatened with war and terrorism if the BBL is not approved in its entirety.”
For many years now, according to the non-profit federation, “the MILF has been expanding its territories in Mindanao because the government failed to realize early on that a negotiating table to the MILF is just an extension of its battlefield as events have shown.”
Philcoman, founded in 1954 by 10 associations, is a non-profit federation of technological societies, academic institutions, business enterprises and professional managers.