The MILF and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 August 2018 13:05

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

Can the Yakans of Basilan, the Tausugs of Sulu, the Samals of Tawi-Tawi, and the Maranaos of Lanao submit to the control and administration of the MILF Iranons of Maguindanao? These tribes are like water and oil. For centuries now they cannot blend and exist together.

This antipathy once again surfaced with the recent car bombing that occurred in Lamitan, Basilan Province. The incident has sparked serious discussions that raised growing skepticism on the ability of the MILF to effectively govern the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region if and when the Bangsamoro Organic Law is approved in a referendum. Can the MILF bring peace, progress and development in the entire Bangsamoro when it is based in faraway Maguindanao? Can it control and reign on the various armed groups to include the ISIS, Abu Sayyaf and the MNLF in Basilan and Sulu? Not only the Basileños but also those in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are now having second thoughts whether or not it would be wise for them to be a part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Mindanao.

Accordingly, the MILF has a military camp in Basilan and has been existing and operating in the area for quite some time now. But with the recent van bombing in Colonia, Lamitan City, Basileños believe that despite their presence, the MILF has no control over insurgents or armed groups, like the ISIS and Abu Sayyaf Group operating in their area.

The Lamitan incident has caused jitters and great apprehensions among its denizens as it is the first case of a sophisticated “suicide bombing” in the country wherein the suicide bomber used a van carrying deadly explosives and their explosion was triggered remotely by a cell phone that killed 11 persons and wounding several others. The radical ISIS that claimed responsibility of the incident said that it was a “martyrdom operation” carried out by a Moroccan named Abu Khatir Al-Maghribi believe to be the driver of the van. But this was denied by the AFP and claimed that based on their investigation, one of the motives was plain extortion committed by an armed group and not by the ISIS.

But this AFP investigation and conclusion that many don’t believe, has only further heightened the fears and anxieties of the peace loving denizens of Lamitan City. It would be better for the AFP to be forthright and fully disclose its findings to the public.

Now Basileños are asking, did the MILF go after the perpetrators of this heinous crime operating in the proposed Bangsamoro area? Unfortunately, it cannot comply with its promise to be the government’s partner in bringing and maintaining peace in the area. This early, the recent van bombing is a confirmation that it is inutile and cannot control insurgents and other armed groups operating in the Bangsamoro area.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Surprise, surprise! After almost two terms as mayor, Beng Salazar now suddenly expressed dissatisfaction and alarm with the kind of service and management of Zamcelco that has continuously pestered and caused inconvenience to the exasperated electric consumers of Zamboanga City for many years now.

Election has also its advantage. It awakens elected officials from their deep slumber and from wasting their time dancing the Zumba to attend to the plight of the denizens of this city.

Mayor Beng Salazar was pictured the other night at the Edwin Andrews Airbase complaining and requesting President Duterte for the National Electric Administration (NEA) to immediately take over the management of Zamcelco and for it to investigate the present board and management and to help in fast tracking the bidding process for the Integrated Management Contract (IMC) between Zamcelco and an investor in the light of the worsening power problem of the city.

Just hope that President Duterte listened to the mayor and help solve our power problem. Recall that Mayor Beng Salazar campaigned and insulted then presidential candidate Duterte by telling and asking the electorate of this city not to vote for him as he would only give the city to the MNLF.

Well, election is just around the corner and it is hoped that the electorate will not simply say Vaya Con Dios to the multitude of problems facing the city for many years now.