The Bangsamoro Basic Law is not the solution to the conflict in Mindanao

They say the best way to understand something complicated is to approach it the way a child would: ask simple questions. To understand the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, Filipinos should do the same – ask simple questions. Once people finally get down to the basics, they will soon realize how unrealistic, unnecessary and wasteful the bill is.

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Let us cut to the chase and see what the fuss is about:

1. Why did the Philippine government enter into a deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and not with the other rebel groups?

Dangerous liaisons: President BS Aquino discusses Mindanao with Murad.
Dangerous liaisons: President BS Aquino discusses Mindanao with Murad.
It’s simple, really. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has a better lobbyist or team of public relations personnel. They also have friends in high places. Not only does the rebel group have the backing of Malaysia, they also have the backing of people in Philippine government. Teresita Quintos-Deles, the presidential peace adviser managed to convince President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino to entertain the idea of coming up with a deal with the rebel group to fix the conflict in Mindanao. The fact that BS Aquino is desperate for something that would define his administration – a legacy – probably helped push the rebel group’s agenda. So in 2011, BS Aquino met Murad Ibrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Japan for the first time to initiate the deal. I guess that was when BS Aquino first agreed to give away parts of Mindanao to a rebel group.

2. Why do the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and their supporters think they are entitled to parts of Mindanao?

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is just one among many Muslim rebel groups who want to secede from the Philippines. Some Muslim extremists cannot and refuse to assimilate with the rest of the Philippine population. While some moderate Muslims can get along fine with Filipinos of different faiths or religion, there are Muslims who cannot move on from the past and declared themselves victims – first, of the Western colonizers and now of “Imperial Manila”.

Some Muslims or Moros as they prefer to be called nowadays, insist that their homeland was taken away from them and they just want to get it back. Now that’s just silly, indeed. They are talking about something that happened more than 300 years ago. There is no way to prove the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front used to own parts of Mindanao. As Rigoberto Tiglao mentioned, back then, the only Muslims in Mindanao were members of the Sultanate of Sulu and Borneo over the Tausug tribe and the Sultanate of Maguindanao over the Maguindanaons.

In fact, the founders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front used to be members of the original rebel group Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who had a deal with the past Philippine administrators. Since they could not agree with the terms of the peace deal with the government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front broke away from the MNLF. Suffice to say, the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front do not have a legitimate claim on any part of Mindanao.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front remains armed and extremely dangerous.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front remains armed and extremely dangerous.
Some of their supporters keep invoking their “history” of being oppressed. But that is nonsense. If they are talking about how Western colonizers took their “homeland” away, the inhabitants of the entire archipelago now called the Philippines were also victims of the same atrocities but most tribes in other parts of the country have moved on. Now we can all say that Filipinos, including people from Mindanao are simply victims of first, the tyranny of the gullible voters, and then their public servants’ incompetence and abuse of power.

3. Why do Filipino taxpayers have to give the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front 27 billion pesos annually under the proposed law?

It seems the BS Aquino government thinks that giving money is the easiest way to solve any problem including the conflict in Mindanao. Think about it. It’s not his money he is giving away in the first place so it is easy for him to be generous. The taxpayers should have their say in determining the fate of this bill. Like I said in my previous article, the current Philippine government’s policy to uplift the status of the poor could be a scam for government officials to pocket public funds. Now the budget for the BBL doesn’t even have any mechanism to govern how the beneficiaries should spend it. The billions of pesos could end up in the hands of the warlords.

Funds allocated to the Bangsamoro under the BBL could be another source of massive corruption.
Funds allocated to the Bangsamoro under the BBL could be another source of massive corruption.
One just has to give a quick look at current government policies to uplift the status of the poor and one will realize that giving massive public funds to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will not work to uplift the status of the poor in that region. Much of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) ended up in the pockets of scammers running fake NGOs like Janet Lim-Napoles. The Conditional Cash Transfer program of the DSWD does not work to alleviate poverty in the country. Some even say that it promotes mendicancy. Even the Reproductive Health Law has not reduced the population so far. It could take time but we shouldn’t hold our breath.

In short, there really is no reason for Filipino taxpayers to give billions of pesos to a rebel group whose real identities are still unknown and especially a group who doesn’t even want to be called Filipinos.

4. Will the BBL really bring peace to Mindanao?

BS Aquino keeps saying that the BBL will bring peace to Mindanao but the reality is, it will not. Not only does it favor only one Muslim rebel group, it also favors one religious group over others. The Philippines is supposed to be a secular country. Using religion to appeal for a group’s agenda should not have been entertained from the very start. It was wrong of BS Aquino to give in to the demands of a rebel group who want to impose their religion on others.

The likely scenario that will happen is, even if Congress managed to pass the bill, the Supreme Court will just declare it unconstitutional the same way they did with former President Gloria Arroyo’s proposed memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) because it violated the constitutional rights of the non-Muslims in Mindanao. And when that happens, the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will throw a tantrum and proceed to wreak havoc in the region.

Likewise, even if the BBL is passed into law, there are still other rebel groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter, MNLF and Abu Sayyaf who are still in good fighting spirit. Their exclusion from the negotiating table is enough to make them reject the BBL.

Those are some of the questions that should help ordinary citizens understand the BBL. Another question they need to ask is why BS Aquino is pressuring Congressmen to pass the bill by June. Well, it is obvious that he just wants to include it as his “achievement” in his final State of the Nation Address. Never mind if the actual “peace” doesn’t take place anyway.

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25 Comments on “The Bangsamoro Basic Law is not the solution to the conflict in Mindanao”

  1. The lack of foresight, lack of skill, lack of wisdom, lack of intelligence, lack of nationalism and lack of humanity and basic decency as well as lack of courage of the BS and his executive cohorts, has infected most of the congressmen and some of the senators as well. Woe unto us citizens if we allow these band of brigands to pass the BBL.

    OPPOSE THE BBL!

      1. Elections are just a few months away. Syempre kailangan magpapogi ng mga politicos natin. Their seats (and fortunes) are on the line.

  2. Aquino just want to have a lot of money. There is : DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel scam. Now, we have the BBL scam. You cannot BRIBE people for Peace on the negotiating table.

    It is a show of Weakness of Aquino. He is a very weak and incompetent President.

    The Chief Financial Officer, of ISIS, named :ABU SAYAFF, had just been killed by U.S. Delta Forces. His wife was captured, and taken for interrogation.

    Mindanao does not belong to the Muslims. It belongs to the Filipinos.

    The many headed “Hydra” of Islamic Radicalism, must be Defeated , not Appeased by our taxpayers’ money…

  3. I come from the province of cotabato.i pretty know the history even before magellan came to the philippines. I know the struggles of muslim brothers which were not written in the history of the philippines. I read the BBL and i know and i am convinced that it will not definitely be the solution to attain peace in our place. It will bring more atrocities among filipinos: muslims or non muslims alike.

  4. how come nobody asks me where to spend the taxes that i pay? i understand the projects that benefit all citizens like roads, bridges and the like..but who benefits from the 4-P’s? not me. so my taxes go to the MILF and who benefits? not me. and why can i not withhold paying my taxes because i do not like where it is going? not me. i go to prison for not paying my taxes but not the people living on my money. they get free passes and get a new home. not me. when do i get my share?

    1. Yup. Those are the kind of questions Filipinos should ask. Some don’t seem to realise that they have a say in how the taxes are spent.

      1. Excuse me, No, no they don’t. The people elect officials .Those ‘elected’ officials decide how the money is spent.
        So, you see, if you re not one of the elected officials,you have absolutely no say what-so-ever in how any of the governments money is spent. NONE !

    2. Ang mga palaasang Pilipino ay pinagtatawanan na tayo. Tayo nga nama’y naaabuso samantalang sila’y hindi manapa’y marami silang nakukuhang kapakinabangan paanong hindi tayo magmumukhang clown sa kanila?Dahil sa patuloy nating pagbabayad ng tax, resulta ng ating maraming oras na pagtatrabaho, ay lalo lamang tayong pinagsasamantalahan ng mga politikong pulpol, mga politikong pulpol pa ang nananamantala sa atin! at silang mga palaasang Pilipino ay lalong nalilibre. Hindi naman tayo pinapakinggan ng mga hinayupak na mga politikong pulpol kaya bakit tayo nagbabayad ng tax? Pinayayaman pa natin ang mga walanghiya!

  5. How can you talk peace when the MILF hold a loaded gun to your head and keep making threatening demands.

    Iqbal yesterday said non-passage could lead to muslim radicalism.

    Murad said running out of time.

    Both are those are thinly disguised threats.

    What happens to all the Christians who live in Mindanao considering they make up the majority of the population? do they not get a say in the matter?

    1. Well, the last resort is to arm the Christian settlers ala Texas. If shit happens, they’ll just wage a reverse insurgency. LOL

  6. religions aside, these MILF folks are just mafia, and we fund mafia with BBL?

    War or Oppression, what do you folks think?

  7. Ha!
    Simple questions to a very complicated problem-no wonder the answers are too simplistic if not downright deceitful. But I have to give it to you, Madam. It’s just another one of those usual ‘Blame PNoy’ stuff by the likes of you!

  8. I guess MILF, Pnoy and Malaysia are pushing for a win-win situation- the government’s investment is our taxes to jump start the exploitation of resources and putting in place the cooperative management by the Muslim thugs who occupy the territories, their landgrabbing backer Malaysia and the willing hostage-turned-capitalist Malacanang and its mafia dogs on their PDAF leash. I really hope the Supreme Court stays true and put an end to this crap BBL. Peace to peaceful Muslims. War to terrorists!

  9. Unconstitutional!!! Everything about the BBL is unconstitutional!!! The Aquino administration totally sold us out by giving in with this group! Even the MNLF is opposing the BBL.

  10. 1. Why did the Philippine government enter into a deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and not with the other rebel groups?
    The question and the answer is wrong. The Philippine government has been entering into peace negotiations with the Rebel groups. It was only the MILF that had any fruitful outcome.
    2. Why do the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and their supporters think they are entitled to parts of Mindanao?
    We need to educate ourselves with the historical injustice the Moros experienced under the Philippine government. Seeking autonomy is an assimilation to the Philippines, not secession.
    3. Why do Filipino taxpayers have to give the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front 27 billion pesos annually under the proposed law?
    The Filipino taxes are not the only piece that comprise the national budget, against which this 27B pesos will be charged. A lot of it actually comes from the foreign investments, specifically the mining industry, who extract natural resources from the ancestral domains of the Moros.
    4. Will the BBL really bring peace to Mindanao?
    The question is better answered by looking at two fronts:
    a. Mindanaon grassroots want lasting peace. Do they believe that BBL will bring peace? The questions is not one to be answered by a Manilenyo.
    b. On a policy level, will the BBL provisions pave a systemic way to achieving peace? We ought to read the provisions to understand.

    The best way for us to respond tot he question of BBL is to educate ourselves. Reading an article so poorly researched, without any solid bases other than speculation, is the worst for education we can get.

  11. I come from Isabela City, Basilan, one of the places in Mindanao labelled as a hot-spot for criminality (which it isn’t) and terrorism (which it occasionally is). Most people there, including most muslims, are against the implementation of the BBL. If ever this… thing ever comes to pass, people will lose their jobs to the (inept) lackeys of the new regime. Those who (will try to) defy those who will come into power will disappear quietly. Some human rights, to put it in milder terms, will be curtailed in favor of the new regime’s rules. Several groups, some of them militant, who don’t have their fingers in the pie -will- go for militant action to get the government’s attention.

    I realize that most of those in power, and even the common Filipino citizen of Luzon and Visayas–the upper isles, as opposed to us “down here”–don’t really realize the extent of the mess you will put us in. True, the Akbar dynasty which has been in power since their assassination of the former Mayor Biel, will probably remain in place and generally continue their job in making themselves fat with the spoils taken from the people who, in turn, will continue dropping down the poverty scale. True, the bomb-and-kidnapping threat letter tactics applied to any new rising business (the main reason why investment in Basilan and most of South Mindanao is a bad idea) will probably continue. The same stuff will happen, but on a grander scale and life will become generally more unpleasant if and when BBL is implemented.

    As a kid, I often have to be home by 5 o’clock in the evening if I don’t want the risk of getting my head bashed in or, worse, shot out of hand. I went to Basilan State College, a government-run school where most Muslim teachers are severely anti-Christian who would make the celebration of Valentine’s Day a big, big insult against their religion even if the non-Muslim population of the school wanted to have some much-needed lift of the spirits. At least five of my former female classmates (those who are non-Muslims anyhow) were forcibly married to Muslim guys or were associated with them is some other, darker ways; one of the girls I went to school with was raped and even though we know who the rapist was, the girl and her family can’t do a thing because the guilty party insisted that she “tempted” the rapist, and that she got what she asked for and deserved it. I personally saw one of the “professors” from BaSC, a Mr. “Ladz”Malanji threaten a non-Muslim boy with a beating and imprisonment after Malanji’s nephew punched the boy for being “cocky”. The boy later relocated to avoid Malanji’s threats. A schoolmate, a senior above our class, was shot with his Zamboangueño friend as they relaxed at a local beach. The shooter was a winner at local Qur’an Reading Contests, and he shot our schoolmate because they don’t have the money for gasoline. The shooter and his cronies were later released from prison despite being of legal age, carrying a firearm without a license, and a double murder case to boot on top of other serious offenses. Our schoolmate was a year fresh from graduation and was hoping to work at a local school as an elementary teacher. Random schoolchildren are beat up after they said that they were “Christian” in response to street-thugs, some incidents happening within 20 meters from a military outpost. One incident happened within five meters of Basilan National High School’s front gate. BNHS is currently lead by “Dr.” Issa L. Ibrahim and the school “princess”, his wife, Sitti, who is widely reviled for her abrasive, self-congratulatory attitude. The young boy and his family eventually relocated to Zamboanga after the boy’s younger brother was beat up by the -same- thugs who learned that their first victim had a younger brother. The principal and his wife gave sad shakes of their heads and muttered that it can’t be helped because, even though the perpetrators were known and went to BaSC, the event happened a few feet outside their “area of jurisdiction”.

    So, you see, if these things can happen when a non-Muslim government is (nominally) in power, what more can happen when -their- government and -their- laws are implemented? We are all familiar with other Muslim states–I am not anti-Muslim, far from it–but they are not exactly models of happy or even moderately tranquil places, yes?

    I guess all I want to say is this: if you wish to pass this Bangsamoro Basic Law, I hope that you are doing so with open eyes and a clear idea of what is going to happen. Heavens know that we do not need another bungle in the high places; it is the small people who take on most of the suffering. All I want–all we want– is for our cities to rise, to grow in peace. We cannot have peace so long as the government ignorant of what is truly happening down here.

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