Bangsamoro Basic Law Essay Writing

Can Peace be Attained through the Bangsamoro Basic Law?

Filed under: Collection Box - Fr. Jerome Secillano |

Fr. Jerome Secillano, MPA

Collection Box

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and his cohorts would like us to believe that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is the only way to peace in Mindanao. Thinking that Filipinos are naive and ignorant, they want it to be passed and accepted notwithstanding the ire of the nation and the rational opposition of some politicians. Mirriam Coronel-Ferrer though, made an honest revelation, one which the Filipino people knew all along. In an interview conducted by the Philippine News Agency on March 2, she said passing the draft BBL into a law will not totally solve the conflict in Mindanao as there are still other armed groups that are sowing chaos in the region. “BBL is not equal to peace, it’s too narrow a view,” she stressed.

So, why insist on the BBL if it does not guarantee peace in Mindanao? What, then, will it bring to the region?

First, it legalizes the existence of the MILF. Commander Mohagher Iqbal nailed it on the head when he said that “the MILF remains a revolutionary group in the absence of the BBL”. From being a revolutionary group, its members now stand a chance to be the lawfully recognized leaders of the Bangsamoro entity once the BBL is passed. If this happens, I am curious as to how the MILF will treat the other armed groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf and the newly-organized Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM). Will the Bangsamoro police go toe to toe with them or at least exercise its lawful authority to apprehend or arrest them?

Under the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Bangsamoro Government shall have the primary responsibility over public order and safety (Art. 5 Sec. 2 No 14). This leaves the Central Government with its Armed Forces and National Police safeguarding only the region’s external security (Art. 5 Sec. 1 No 1). So, if there are dubious characters in the region that needed to be arrested the Central Government must coordinate and cooperate with the Bangsamoro Government before it can be done (Art. 5 Sec. 2 No. 14). As if with coordination and cooperation it can really be done!

The worse that can happen is to make Mindanao a haven of revolutionary Muslim groups, both local and international, that harbor the aspiration of establishing a Muslim caliphate through terroristic activities or Islamic revolution. These groups operate through a network. The ties that bind them are soaked in blood. They may employ different means or strategies but surely they are motivated by the same goal, that of self-determination and eventually independence. The Draft BBL says, “The Bangsamoro Parliament shall adopt the official flag, emblem and anthem of the Bangsamoro” (Art II Sec. 3).

Second, it guarantees the flow of money in Mindanao. The Central government is mandated under the Draft BBL to give an annual block grant to the Bangsamoro which is estimated to be in the billions of pesos on top of the region’s revenue from its own GOCCs, taxes, business fees, ports’ collections, mining fees and the cultivation of its other natural resources among others. This block grant shall automatically be given without the necessary red tape that usually mars government transactions (Art. 7 Sec. 17). As if these are not enough, the Central government shall provide for additional funds that would subsidize expenditures for development projects and infrastructure immediately after the ratification of the BBL for the next five years (Art. 7 Sec. 21). Also, the twenty five percent (25%) that the Central government supposedly gets from taxes, fees and charges collected in the Bangsamoro shall be retained by the Bangsamoro government for a period of ten (10) years and may even be extended upon mutual agreement of the Central and Bangsamoro governments (Art. 7 Sec. 10).

Just like in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), money will not be a problem, too, for the Bangsamoro. The concern is its management. If it is not judiciously spent and religiously audited, we will continue to see in Mindanao bridges made of wood just like the one in Mamasapano, unpaved roads, dilapidated classrooms, unrealized infrastructure projects and the most obvious sign of underdevelopment and inequality, mansions for its politicians and “barong-barong” for ordinary Mindanaoans.

Third, it assures the Bangsamoro of its right to self-governance. To make it appear that the powers of the Central Government are not compromised and the right to self rule of the Bangsamoro is not jeopardized, the Draft BBL came up with the words coordination and cooperation on matters that may potentially undermine both. The problem is the extent of coordination and cooperation is not clearly spelled out, hence, there’s a difficulty in determining what really ought to be done and what shouldn’t be. After reading the Draft though, I got the impression that the Bangsamoro’s right to self-rule seems to be favored with the Central Government maybe consciously and slowly allowing the island of Mindanao to slip from its grip.

Under these circumstances, it is understandable why the MILF would so suddenly abandon their long held aspiration for independence and merely settle for “autonomy”. Unlike the ARMM, the deal that they got from the government is simply better, more financially rewarding and to a greater degree, one that has less Central Government control and intervention. Not surprisingly, Iqbal wouldn’t want a “watered down” version of the Draft because the present one is the closest they have to gaining their independence.

Peace, under the Draft BBL, would seem to be a mere consequence of power, financial stability and the “autonomous” government granted to the Bangsamoro under most probably the MILF. From the looks of it, the government is seemingly held hostage to deliver without any substantial changes and in toto the Draft BBL. Iqbal already made a veiled threat that they are always ready in the event that the BBL will not be passed. But even granting that it is approved, expect Al Hajj Ebrahim Murad and his MILF to start the fireworks in Mindanao once again if it is not according to their liking.

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4 scenarios if Bangsamoro bill is not passed
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – What will happen if Congress fails to pass the proposed Bangsamoro basic law (BBL)? Will war once again erupt in Mindanao? Is there no other option?
With only a year left before the administration of President Benigno Aquino III ends, the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) in Congress remains uncertain.
A tipping point was reached when the Mamasapano clash, which killed 67 Filipinos, eroded the political capital of the President and unleashed many reservations about the controversial bill.
The Senate deadline was moved to October just as 12 senators signed the committee report concluding that the BBL is unconstitutional, indicating that the…show more content…

In a hearing at the House of Representatives in April, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal warned that “uncertainty will give way to lawlessness in Mindanao” if the BBL is not passed. Not a few lawmakers criticized the MILF for such statements, calling them a form of blackmail.
These statements are not without context, however.
When the Supreme Court declared an initial agreement between the Arroyo administration and the MILF on ancestral domains unconstitutional in 2008, the late Umra Kato broke away from the MILF and formed the more radical Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The BIFF has reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Although there have been no confirmed reports of Filipinos joining ISIS, former military chief Emmanuel Bautista said the failure of the peace process in Mindanao would attract extremists to seek refuge in conflict areas.
Government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in an April press conference that the radicalization towards ISIS-like groups is a “real threat.”
“It is a religion-based ideology that would be more intractable, or more difficult and very, very bloody if you go through the history of religious wars,” she said.
Before this could happen, there is, however, some hope for contingencies.
2. The peace panels agree to postpone the BBL and pass it on to the next administration
The worst scenario for the MILF, Iqbal

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