BBL: Instrument for peace or for war? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 08:48

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

There are so many interpretations and fears about the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). To the optimist it will bring lasting peace, but to the pessimist it will give more problems against peace. Whatsoever side one must have, is valid and presumed correct. The only danger is, if one side has a hidden agenda, it is inimical to Mindanao’s future and development or favorable to one tribe among the 37 or more tribes that made Mindanao their homes since time immemorial. This is to exclude major groups, not considered indigenous to Mindanao. but migrants from other parts of the country, who are the actual major players in Mindanao’s future and development.

The irony is most of these “framers for peace” are not Mindanaoans, but strangers, who have lived all their lives in progressive and peaceful communities of the country, very far away from “bloody” Mindanao. Probably, they have not even seen and witnessed an actual “shooting war”, victims of ambuscades or inhuman atrocities. Probably too, to them, one shooting victim in their peaceful streets is big news.

Let us go back to the issue of peace or war in Mindanao. The first recorded Moro who fought for a Moro homeland, was Commander Kamlon of Jolo, Sulu, fighting for the Sulu Sultanate, but then, instead of listening to his side, the Philippine Government branded him as “bandit” in the late 50’s until Commander Kamlon opened the eyes of other Moros to assert their right for a homeland. In Central Mindanao in the early 60’s, a group of students organized the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) said to be organized and funded by then Cotabato Governor Udtug Matalam, the biggest warlord in Central Mindanao during those times. Then the quest for a Moro homeland was continued by Tausug Moro youths in the late 60’s, made their debut in Zamboanga City, small moro active groups like “Moorish Brigade” or “Green Guards” said to be the core group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) where MNLF “Batch 90” came from was very familiar  to Zamboanga City’s Moro communities. This development coincided with the turmoil in Manila, that was threatening the Philippine central government by students and out-of-school youths, holding bloody demonstrations and rallies in the heart of Manila. It wasbranded by the Philippine Government as “student activism”, until reports said that communist “leftist” groups infiltrated their ranks and conducted the recorded “First Quarter Storm” that threatened the President’s office in Malacanang in the so-called “Battle of Mendiola”. At this time the Hukbong Magpapalaya ng Bayan Laban Hapon (Hukbalahap), a group of discontented World War II guerrillas  and veteran soldiers was almost taken over by intelligent students who converted the “HUK” purpose into a communist leftist movement, convincing the poverty stricken peasants of Central Luzon to join their ranks and expanded their ideology to the restless university population of the country to adopt their leftist ideology and was almost successful until the government declared  Martial Law in 1972.

Martial Law was declared in the country not because of the Moro secessionist movement, but because of student unrest in the country protesting against American presence in the country which they called “Imperialist” and a favorite “whipping boy” of the Left.

Today, a new group is asserting for a homeland in the guise of self governance so as to be in line with the tenets of democracy. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a breakaway group of the MNLF of former MNLF leader Hj. Hashim Salamat . The MILF is said to be supported by some Malaysian leaders. Flash back reports reveal it was also the Malaysian leaders who cooperated and assisted the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) by allowing them to be trained in a Malaysian Island called Jampiras. If indeed these reports of Malaysian participation in the MILF’s BBL are true, what is the hidden agenda of Malaysia? Since Malaysia is an ally of the British Government and the British are “close partner” of the Americans, what is then the participation of America in this MILF BBL issue? Although the Philippines claim to North Borneo, as part of the Sultanate of Sulu stays and is obvious, we believe it is not the real reason of favoring the BBL by the Malaysians and Americans. There are reasons that is more than “meets the eye”.  Perhaps a reason larger than North Borneo  or deeper than the Sulu Sea or muddier than the Liguasan Marsh, but, the reason is down there. Actually the difference is the same.