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Sunday, 24 May 2015 14:53

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — Now that the House ad hoc committee has passed the Bangsamoro Basic Law, renamed Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, and will be brought on the floor for debate, it will only be a matter of days before it gets passed and forwarded to the Senate for a reconciliatory bill that will lead to its enactment and eventual signing into law by the president.

The senate version will be distinct from the House version, as Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, has branded the proposed law as unconstitutional. Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., chair of the committee on local governments, is insisting on consolidating past peace accords the government has entered into with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1976 known as the Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. Two of the four factions of the MNLF have rejected the proposed BBL. The Tausogs feel that this proposed law will create a wider gap amongst the Muslims, after all, the Maranaos and the Maguindanaonons are expected to lord it over in the new ARMM, granted that it passes legislation and is ratified by the people in the affected areas. The Muslims from down south lost control over the ARMM years ago when their candidates, including Nur Misuari, were continuously defeated in the polls. They did not have the numbers then, they don’t have the numbers now.

Ferdinand E. Marcos knew it. He was a visionary. To avoid any armed and political conflicts among the Muslims, he created, using his vast and dictatorial powers, Regions 9-A and 9-B and Region 13 to please everybody. He formed two executive bodies and two regional assemblies, one each for Regions 9 and 12 because he knew that the people (Muslims) of these two regions could not co-exist. They never can and never will.They had to have their own nests. The Cory Constitution tried to interlock these Muslim groups with the creation of the present ARMM. Pres. Fidel V. Ramos tried to reinforce it with the signing of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF, leaving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) out of the loop. That accord was condemned by the MILF that threatened to extend the war in Mindanao. Thus, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) came to be.

Forceful as he may be in words and deeds, Cong. Celso L. Lobregat is left alone with a few Mindanao solons to fight against some questionable provisions in the BBL. Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco-Salazar can only do and say so little about the BBL because she is a lackey of President Aquino and, therefore, must follow the line of reasoning of Malacanang (although ridiculously unreasonable). By doing so, it will guarantee the support she will need in 2016 when she runs for re-election. Ironically, it is Mrs. Climaco-Salazar who’s getting all the accolades and praises (likes) for simply saying NO to our inclusion in the proposed re-expanded ARMM, not Mr. Lobregat nor the 98 percent the adult population of Zamboanga city who have voiced out their rejection to inclusion. Why is that? Susmariajosep. Here’s a man fighting for our political sovereignty — unafraid, audacious, fearless in opposing certain questionable provisions in the BBL — yet getting no acknowledgment nor recognition (in social media) for his endeavor. He should fire his PR consultants, if any he retains.

These are serious, troubling times. We’re not sure what’s going to happen other than what’s on paper. What the real motive of the the government and the MILF is — autonomy, self-rule, independence? We’re not sure what the government has in store for the MILF and our Muslim brethrens. How do we deal with the BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf whose ruthless members have murdered innocent civilians, ravaged peaceful communities and beheaded captured soldiers? How do we deal with these blood-thirsty trepidators?

Why can’t we have just one form of government, one flag, one people, one nation? Muslims and Christians — we’re all the same, FILIPINOS.