Muslim leaders oppose inclusion in BBL PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 May 2018 13:23

By REMUS ONG

Muslim leaders on Wednesday called the national government to consider the rights of the people in the provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Zamboanga Peninsula to let them freely choose whether they want to join the Bangsamoro Basic Law or not.

The call was made during a meeting of Muslim leaders held at a local hotel last Wednesday.

Datu Shahbandar Dr. Abdusakur Tan, former Sulu governor and one of the leaders of the Bangsa Sug Consensus, is set to present to President Rodrigo Duterte a position paper on the position of five sultanates objecting their inclusion in the proposed BBL territory.

The leaders said that there are many unanswered questions related to the BBL and its multi-faceted implication has resulted to a state of anxiety and confusion among the affected constituents.

Various stakeholders wish to seek more clarification and enlightenment on the matter to enable them to render an educated judgment as they go to the polls on the day of the referendum.

The position paper also states that ARMM constituent provinces should be given the option to vote against the inclusion in the new Bangsamoro entity.

The position is anchored on the principle of democratic consultation which is an essential element of the plebiscite and basic concept in Islam, the leaders said.

Ratification should be on the basis of the majority votes of the constituent province and not of the entire geographical area of the present ARMM.

The position paper also disclosed that the new Bangsamoro law seeks to abolish the ARMM, hence the provinces are returned to its original state as local government units unattached to any regional government.

“Their votes in the plebiscite should be counted as votes reflective of their electoral will as provinces and not as components of the ARMM,” the position continued.

It also proposed the creation of a Federal State that shall include the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga City, Sulu, Tawi- Tawi and Basilan.

These are the areas that compose Region 9 during the Marcos administration with Zamboanga City as the regional center.

The territorial lines of federalization should not be dictated by religious dogma for this would be limiting, counter-productive and contrary to the spirit of nationhood.

The federal territorial divide is not a division of people and religion. It is a realistic and practical divide of administration and governance so that the people get the best and most viable governance that befits their needs and circumstances.     (Remus Ong)