BBL a deterrent to ISIS caliphate PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 March 2018 11:58

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

With the hue and cry in Marawi and other Muslim-dominated provinces and cities still continuing, there are talks that the passage of the long-awaited Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that will lead to the creation of a well-funded, revved-up Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will neutralize Islamic terrorists who are out to establish a caliphate in Mindanao.

Obscure to many, a certain Dexter Yap who writes regularly here, reported that the sub-committee of the House of Representatives on the BBL will hold yet another forum/consultation on the BBL to gather/collate position papers and comments from different organizations on the proposed law. Rep. Celso L. Lobregat, a member of the committee, said that the body of respectable congressmen has consolidated House Bills 92, 6121, 6263 and 6475 for the law’s working draft.

Home-grown Islamic terrorism is sill miniscule. But despite its small, heavily-weaponized group, it took government forces more than four months to take back Marawi from the hands of the Maute gang. The intelligence community predicts that ISIS-Philippines will strike again soon as it completes its rapid recruitment of radicalized Muslims in Mindanao. If the military’s assertion is to be believed, ISIS-Philippines will strike in either Iligan or Cotabato.

El Presidente, a.k.a. “Captain Mindanao”, has vowed to obliterate terrorism in the country even as he leads the “war on drugs” on another front. While ISIS failed in Marawi, there’s no stopping imbedded Islamic terrorists from trying to take control of provinces or cities where security is loose. We cannot just wait and see targeted communities turn into de facto territories of ISIS-Philippines. The Marcos government has “surrendered” too many lands to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) already, faster than the Philippines even surrendered territories to China.

The situation is that only the armed MNLF and MILF are claiming autonomy openly. The civilians act as their consultants. However patrolled by police and soldiers, the MNLF and MILF bases are vested with guns and weapons of destruction.

The driving force, therefore, in stabilizing the war-scarred regions is the immediate passage of the BBL (no more talking) so that the armed forces of the ARMM (MNLF and MILF) could guard their territories from ISIS-Philippines’ armed intrusion.

The administration of Captain Mindanao has toppled the Maute gang in Marawi. That attack cost the government billions of pesos, nay, dollars to rehabilitate devastated Marawi. The retaking of Marawi prevented the formation of a caliphate. The government was caught flat-footed last May 23. It wasn’t in the military’s playbook or need-to-know chart kept secret in war rooms.

While Senator Zubiri has emphasized that Zamboanga is not (never will be?) included in the Moro Republic, Mr. Lobregat has for the millionth time promised that he will protect the interests and welfare of Zamboanga by making (damn) sure that we are EXCLUDED from the ARMM, a political creation to silence the guns of the separatists and, therefore, prompt an atmosphere of peace in Mindanao.

With neither big industries nor factories to boast of, the ARMM will have to rely on tourists that hopefully would travel to their component cities and provinces and heavy financial backing from the central government and, maybe, Arab countries’ benevolence to flourish.

Look at the BBL as the stopgap to the creation of an ISIS-Philippines caliphate. In light of our military superiority in numbers and courage and donated military hardware by China and the U.S., the people of Mindanao can hope for peace. We can always depend on “Captain Mindanao” to set the people free.