• What to do about the Bangsamoro Basic Law

    21

    Will the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the peace accord which the BBL is supposed to implement, become the biggest casualty of the January 25 massacre of 44 Special Action Force troopers of the Philippine National Police?

    To be sure, the bloodbath that followed the PNP-SAF’s mission against two notorious terrorists believed to be hiding thereabouts, underscores in the most violent terms the undeniable imperative to forge lasting peace in the south.

    Moreover, the safe haven that rebellion afforded Malaysian bomb expert Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Commander Marwan, and his Filipino counterpart, Abdul Bassit Usman of the extremist Abu Sayaff Group (ASG), further demands that Muslim insurgency be ended, so that law enforcers can effectively seek and neutralize outlaws hiding in rebel areas.

    A broken trust
    But — and this is a mammoth one — the Mamasapano massacre has raised grave questions of trust and confidence not just in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, but also in the MILF’s ultimate negotiating partner, President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    The Front has lost the trust of many Filipinos. We now fear that increased autonomy and resources, plus the trappings of sub-statehood to be granted under the Bangsamoro agreement, could be exploited and abused to shelter terrorists and outlaws, and possibly to move toward secession.

    Even worse, Aquino’s reported actions against the national interest and the precious lives of our heroic fighting men in Mamasapano have made countless citizens wonder if he and his peace negotiators also compromised our Republic in the MILF talks, especially our sovereignty and Constitution — the “founding principles” Pope Francis cited in his Malacañang statement on the peace process.

    So how exactly can the peace process move forward after the brutal decimation of the gallant PNP-SAF unit? Three things are a must.

    The path to peace
    First, SLOW DOWN. The Senate and House committees deliberating the draft BBL, under Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, respectively, have rightly deferred hearings and set aside announced deadlines for passing the measure.

    Both the Palace and even more so the MILF should get real and allow time for Congress, the security forces, and the Filipino people to grieve, heal, review the BBL, and most of all, rebuild trust, the indispensable ingredient for peace.

    Pressing lawmakers to pass the Basic Law pronto risks provoking its recasting amid nightmarish fears stirred by the Mamasapano carnage. Moreover, the people and, more crucially, the military and the police would only view any fast-tracked legislation with great suspicion and trepidation. Getting them to accept it would be about as hard as making the MILF resume peace talks right after the fall of its Camp Abubakar in 2000.

    Give the nation time to heal, be calm, and trust again, and peace can get back on track.

    Second, our legislators and justices must, in light of Mamasapano, PONDER WITH CARE the BBL, the Comprehensive Bangsamoro Agreement, and the six annexes, one addendum, and Framework Agreement subsumed by the CAB.

    Understandably, many Filipinos now worry that if the MILF continues harboring the lawless and violent and that more powers and a regional police force under the Basic Law would make it much harder to go after terrorists and outlaws in the new autonomous area.

    Far more worrisome, the Front leadership evidently does not care to take action against brutal elements in its ranks who, despite a 12-year ceasefire and a signed peace pact, have mercilessly massacred dozens of state troopers out of ammo, bleeding from multiple wounds, and helplessly staring at the gun barrels that blew their brains out.

    Unless there is a dramatic and credible change in the MILF’s longstanding actions and stance, the Legislative and Judicial branches of government, for the sake of 100 million Filipinos of every faith and tongue, have to think hard if granting powers and concessions under the Bangsamoro pact and law to this same MILF would advance peace, justice and righteousness in our country — or the chilling opposite.

    Calibrating concessions and confidence
    As repeatedly urged by various parties, including the Palace, there is, most of all, a overarching need to REBUILD TRUST, especially in the MILF. That is the third and most indispensable action for the peace process to continue.

    Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said the rebel group “should show its sincerity and utmost good faith in its peace talks … by sharing its intelligence on terrorists hiding in Mindanao, and working with the government in pursuing these terrorists.” Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda also urged: “The MILF must demonstrate its sincerity that they are full partners in the peace process.”

    In fact, the nation would need to see in the MILF a clear and sustained change in policies and actions, showing that it no longer tolerates extremism and brutality, and it has truly renounced separatist ambitions. This won’t happen in a few months, but over several years.

    Hence, in finalizing the BBL, Congress must incorporate provisions making key concessions and powers contingent on actions to be taken by the MILF and the envisioned Bangsamoro government. For instance, any military redeployment, as provided in the Framework Agreement, should await solid indications that the Bangsamoro region will not harbor terrorists or seek secession.

    In sum, as trust and confidence grow, so more powers and concessions can be granted.

    Will several thousand MILF rebels agree to this? With the carnage perpetrated on the Republic’s defenders pointing to very real threats, the question cannot but be: Will 100 million Filipinos accept anything else?

    Bottom line: The sovereign Republic of the Philippines must ensure that the Bangsamoro agreement and law will truly bring lasting peace, national unity, and development for all of Mindanao. We hope the Moro Islamic Liberation Front shall play its indispensable role in this paramount goal.

    Share.
    loading...
    Loading...

    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    21 Comments

    1. If the MILF wants a bangsamoro substate they should go to malaysia where they really belongs …u cannot create your own bansa here in Bansang Pilipinas..we dont need you here…the lame diuck Pres. is dying to have a Novel Prze sacrificing the whole nation…

    2. Mamasapano massacre of 44 abandoned Pilipino police, shot and mutilated by MILF and allied forces demonstrates what will happen if the government will abandon the Christian residents of BBL area.
      BS Aquino and allied Congress will be safe and enjoying life in Manila while the abandoned Christians in BBL kingdom will be like the fallen 44, begging for their lives but no one can rescue because BBL is enforced by law.

    3. I don’t understand how our government handle this peace talk with our Muslim Brothers. For me, it will just create more trouble ahead, the way how the provisions drafted. Let’s face it, our Muslim brothers don’t like peace but they wanted their own country period. Through these provisions the second stage they will asked for secession. I hope our government will not make such bad decisions that instead of making Philippines peaceful country. It will become a war zone country like what happened to Syria and Iraq now. That only innocent civilians will suffers most. For our Dear President, please don’t surrender our sovereignty because you think this will create peace in Mindanao. If your father is still alive today he will curse you of making peace to our Muslim brothers that is not favorable to the Filipino generations. For me, there will be no peace in Mindanao unless our Muslims brothers learned to trust and respect themselves.

      • Larry Ebersole on

        Your main directions is right, that the main objective for the Bangsamoro is a separate nation of their own; but your saying Ninoy will curse his son BS for selling the countries sovereignty is wrong because Ninoy will just be too happy. You have to rewind in history that Ninoy, in cahoot with Malaysia exposed the plan of Marcos to re-take Sabah causing the Jabidah massacre so now BS, again in cahoot with Malaysia will be giving Mindanao to the Moro with a bonus of Nobel Price.

    4. Let us not blame the Mamasapano incident for the breakdown of BBL. BBL makes the Filipino people dumb and stupid. The gentleladies give Sabah to landgrabbers; the Moro Fighters are preparing to grab Palawan; everything in the Philippines including heart and soul of every Filipinos shall be offered for the sake of peace. Just because they are poor and well armed, they will get more than what other poor Filipinos can get? More important they will not swear allegiance to the Philippines. Hear how they talk!

    5. Bert O. Romero on

      The members of the government panel who participated in the drafting of the BBL never had the interest of the Philippines at heart. They were more interested in mollifying the MILF negotiators than in protecting Philippine sovereignty . Hence, their easy acquiescence to the MILF demand for the establishment of a nation state in Mindanao with the name BANGSAMORO . What are the elements of a nation state? They are people, territory, government structure, sovereignty , and recognition by other states. The first four elements had been handed on a silver platter to the MILF while the last element will inexorably follow the formation of government which expectedly will relentlessly work for foreign recognition. What has failed the Palestinian Authority to obtain these past 87 years, the MILF will receive in 19 years! Thanks to the wisdom of our government panel.

    6. Vicente Penetrante on

      Perhaps the angel from heaven assigned to the Philippines had to stop the passage of the BBL. Needed first is a common understanding among the Sultanate and different armed factions of MNLF, MILF, BIFF and other smaller break-away groups.

      Iqbal said that “turning over firearms is a taboo topic among the MILF. He said that MILF can only point to wanted criminals, if they know about it, but cannot by themselves apprehend them. He had FOREWARNED us.

    7. The babala must be heeded. If these quislings in government insist on granting these thugs their dream because of pressure from the Americans then Mindanao will become the Middle East of Asia, and blood beyond your imagination will be shed. Anywhere the Americans go with their meddling to promote “peace” carnage and destruction follows,just look at Libya where those gangs killing each other were all backed by the Americans against Khadafy. Besides where in history do you find a republic ceding its territory willingly, like idiots? Dito lang sa Pilipinas . Sri Lanka showed the world how to deal with these goons, so did Erap. Ibalik na lang si Erap.

      • Tama ka Amata. Wherever the Americans go, they bring pillage, destruction and sorrow. Erap did a good start actually, that’s why the CIA together with this same group now in power engineered his downfall.
        The US is still trying to do the same thing in southern Thailand. Carve a separate state. It does not matter if its black, white or brown, Muslim Christian or Aeithist. The smaller the country the better for them to control. Alas, most civilians around the world can not fathom this. They see America as the land of milk and honey. Once there they will realise it’s actually a police state. Taxes are ridiculously high to maintain the Elite who actually do not pay any taxes…etc..etc..

    8. No one can write an agreement with a terrorist group that won’t come back and bite them in there a_s. Just follow common sense and learned wisdom. DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORIST GROUPS.

    9. Brian Stanley-Jackson on

      Peace cannot be negotiated – peace has and always will be the end result of one of the parties in a conflict being conquered.

      We should be very grateful that those negotiating with the MILF terrorists were not involved in the handling of Hitler’s Germany nor its partner Japan!

      History tells us “no conquest – no peace”.

    10. jose b. taganahan on

      The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be scrapped as it is a result of a flawed agreement with the MILF which in the first place should not have been made by this administration as the constitutionally mandated Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanaon (ARMM) is already in existence and functioning and is actually presently headed by Pnoy’s appointed ARMM Governor.The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in its present form as submitted by Pnoy to congress is clearly unconstitional as articulated by many constitutionalists including two (2) retired Supreme Court Justices.

      • Sheila Vicente on

        I agree that the Bangsamoro Basic Law should not be signed into law. As this law will infuriate other groups who want to rule Mindanao. Mindanao is for all Filipinos, either Muslims or Christians or MILF or MNLF or NPA. All groups which took arms against the government have decided to kill and be killed as long as they take up arms, the government should be on all out war against them. In the negotiating table, the MILF should have surrendered the terrorists they protected. This gesture showed that we cannot negotiate with them. However, they could not turn their backs to these terrorists who supported their struggle that’s why they cudgel them. Lets say the BBL will be signed, I fear other groups will rise again in arms as they want to rule MIndanao also. And the cycle of violence, death and all casualties of war continues. I lived in Zamboanga City 20years of my life, I went to school with Muslims we lived side by side respecting each others boundaries. There are only some who sow havoc and chaos for personal gain like kidnapping. Back in my college days, rebel returnies went to school with us. Their children are full government scholars.
        What I’m just saying is that the government should be sure if this BBL will really bring lasting peace to Mindanao. I fear not. Also I agree for the BBL to be passed, it should be voted by the entire people of Mindanao. BBL is like giving power to the MILF, other groups seeing that the government in their wish for peace made this pact to prevent them from uprising, however, other groups will do the same, they will cause death, destruction to others so they will get the government’s attention and then what happens? How can we accommodate all other groups when all of them want to rule Mindanao? I hope all groups putting up arms against the government should think again, we should not kill our fellow Filipinos because we protect terrorists who are not even Filipinos. Should you kill another person because you believe that the government is so bad, so corrupt, so evil? The US is not really an enemy, they are just supporting on both sides to continue this conflict so we can buy guns from them. They have so many guns, they do not know what to do… that is why they seemingly, unknowingly help spark conflicts in countries. In the end, Americans profit. But if all these armed groups lay down these arms and talk, maybe we can be sure America will stay out of our shores. Let us help stop all these killings but presently, the BBL is not the answer.

      • Sheila Vicente on

        I agree that the Bangsamoro Basic Law should not be signed into law. As this law will infuriate other groups who want to rule Mindanao. Mindanao is for all Filipinos, either Muslims or Christians or MILF or MNLF or NPA. All groups which took arms against the government have decided to kill and be killed as long as they take up arms, the government should be on all out war against them. In the negotiating table, the MILF should have surrendered the terrorists they protected. This gesture showed that we cannot negotiate with them. However, they could not turn their backs to these terrorists who supported their struggle that’s why they cudgel them. Lets say the BBL will be signed, I fear other groups will rise again in arms as they want to rule MIndanao also. And the cycle of violence, death and all casualties of war continues. I lived in Zamboanga City 20years of my life, I went to school with Muslims we lived side by side respecting each others boundaries. There are only some who sow havoc and chaos for personal gain like kidnapping. Back in my college days, rebel returnies went to school with us. Their children are full government scholars.
        What I’m just saying is that the government should be sure if this BBL will really bring lasting peace to Mindanao. I fear not. Also I agree for the BBL to be passed, it should be voted by the entire people of Mindanao. BBL is like giving power to the MILF, other groups seeing that the government in their wish for peace made this pact to prevent them from uprising, however, other groups will do the same, they will cause death, destruction to others so they will get the government’s attention and then what happens? How can we accommodate all other groups when all of them want to rule Mindanao? I hope all groups putting up arms against the government should think again, we should not kill our fellow Filipinos because we protect terrorists who are not even Filipinos. Should one kill another person because he believe that the government is so bad, so corrupt, so evil? The US is not really an enemy, in my opinion they are just supporting on both sides to continue the conflict in the end, Americans profit by selling guns and ammo. But if all these armed groups lay down these arms and talk, maybe we can be sure America will stay out of our shores. Let us help stop all these killings but presently, the BBL is not the answer.
        What is to the me as a Mindanaoan is the real answer to these conflicts is to kill the idea– that a group will rule Mindanao. No one group should rule Mindanao, we chose our leaders through elections as our right and let these leaders rule despite their own self interests, but I have put trust in them that their responsibility is to keep and preserve my rights protected as a person, as a citizen of this Filipino nation.

    11. The BBL is the Trojan Horse where the birth of a Caliphate state in our country will stand as a pillar. Lesson should be learned around the world where territorial disputes abound. A look at how the Iraq-Syria caliphate is being formed. While peace is everybody’s’ aspiration, peace to be realized requires the inevitable use of FORCE. It’s tragic but that how the world is.

    12. there is nothing to do about the bangsamoro law, because the everyday citizen are now lining up at various foreign embassies to move their children to more stable countries.

      it has been a series of failed experiments and mr and mrs juan dela cruz have had it.

    13. What were those ten congressmen/women have done until this time from the time of their tenure to improve the livelihood of their muslim contituents? Absence of strong, honest and good governance from top to bottom of government officials hierarchy peace and order in Mindanao can never be achieved.

    14. You’ve said all the right things under the circumstances, Mr. Saludo. But, the question is, does Malacanang listen? Is the occupant sensible enough to accept the “truth”; that the BBL needs ‘overhaul’ in the name of primordial peace?

    15. Roldan Guerrero on

      Aquino himself and Abad are looking forward of using the Bangsamoro Republic as their sanctuary, for fear of serving numerous jail terms after 2016. That is why he is forcing for its railroaded enactment into law. Surely he will be welcome with open hands by MILF as a reward for his efforts. Bad lucks always hound him, dirty players chance of winning is very slim…so to say CRIME DOES NOT PAY! Hindi lang minamalas at bulilyasona naman si MAMASAPANOT, pumalpak at sumablayna naman. Its now time for payback, HIS TURN TO PAY HIS CRIMES!