What exactly does the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) seek to provide Filipino Muslims that the current system of government and the way the Philippines is organised into political units does not provide? This, is the question that seems to have gone unanswered over the course of this national crisis. Perhaps, as most Filipinos now suspect, it is because the BBL initiative was hatched on the basis of people’s personal agendas rather than on a true evaluation of the real issues.Indeed, if that question had been asked at the start of these so-called “peace” initiatives, the onus will have been on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to first prove that their goals as a community (or at least the community they presume to “represent”) could not be achieved under the current system provided by the national framework already in place and enshrined in the Constitution. Under the current secular common-law system, imperfect as that may be, any community bowing to whatever reasonable ethically-sound religious faith can, in principle, prosper under Philippine law and the governance system in place.
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The failure of the Philippine government under President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquiuno III in this regard was to apply an approach to dealing with these crooks in a manner that did not put the primacy of the current system (under which the vast majority of Filipinos live by) first and the grievances of the minorities they represent a distant second.
The framework agreement should have been around clear points describing reasons why Filipino Muslims cannot achieve their goals under the current system in place.
With that underlying context, the question as to why all these Islamic terrorists — including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front — are armed and running all around Mindanao killing people comes front and center. Because the then-hypothetical solution will have involved some change and legislation to implement a new governance approach, the reasons required would have to be systemic in nature (i.e. systemic reasons why Muslims cannot work with the current system as it stands) rather than political/historical reasons supposedly leading to their armed movement and justifying its continued existence.
Framed this way, the debate would likely have been more straightforward — that whatever the historical reasons, the existence of armed bandits cannot be tolerated even as any “peace” deal was discussed.
As we can see now, the unnecessary complications of this issue and the accompanying waste in time and resources that result from it are all rooted in the flawed notion that there are three different groups to deal with thanks to this misguided focus on “historical context” rather than on the present situation. The fact is, there really is only just one enemy. If the Army (or, for that matter, any entity or agency — civilian or military — that wants to dabble in Mindanao solutioneering) were given instructions to regard their mission as one dealing with just one enemy, then they will likely have been more effective in ending Islamic terrorism in Mindanao.
At present, President BS Aquino being the single common denominator transcending the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Philippine military, and the police is and always has been in the single best position to tell the truth. But he did not step up to that role when it counted. Instead he shrunk behind a web of lies and bullshittery that other people are now busy untangling.
Instead of stepping up to the statesmanship he is called for he is biding time waiting for other people to tease out that “truth” which he likely already has stuck somewhere between his brain and his mouth.
For the past month and a half, President BS Aquino has turned a deaf ear to his bosses’ demands that he tell the truth.
Thus, the only argument against President BS Aquino’s critics that his apologists have retreated back to is that the guy is “not a bad or evil guy”. That phrase encapsulates Filipino-style mediocre thinking. Rather than aspire for excellence, Filipinos aspire for “not bad”. The fatal consequences of that culture of pwede-na-yan are on exhibit today.
The style of selective history story-telling involving ignoring certain inconvenient facts and focusing on certain “positive” aspects has turned the Mindanao situation into a monstrously convoluted “debate”. Because a president who couldn’t — no, wouldn’t — come up and tell the truth currently rules the land, chaos reigns. Any aspect of an issue can be made to look like a shining light when you blot out context. In this case, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, taken out of its criminal context and placed against a backdrop of “historical” tales is made out to be a “special” sort of “peace” partner. That’s kind of like regarding a drunk bum lying on the sidewalk and saying, “ignore for a moment that the guy is a drunk bum, he’s still a human being in God’s eyes”.
Filipinos routinely fall for that sort of bullshit.
I’m sure most people here are quite familiar with that awful feeling of being lied to. Questions don’t get straight answers, lots of stammering gets sputtered out, delays, delays, and more delays, etc. You know a liar when you are faced with one and this one — no less than the President of the Philippines — is hiding behind drawn out “procedures”.
Rather than tell the truth straightaway (and the president had lots of opportunity to face the public in a timely manner and do just that), BS Aquino relied on the Senate and his media henchmen to do the job for him. So he deserves to cop the buckets of criticism and derision thrown his way today. Perhaps the truth may eventually come out but it will not come from BS Aquino’s BS mouth. It will come from people who had to go out and find it the HARD way.
Are you gonna believe such a man next time? Nobody will. Only fools get lied to by the same liar a SECOND time.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.