There are moments in history when one needs to take a profound stand for what is right, the common good and the national interest. That stand must be translated into decisive action to prevent or right a wrong. This is my motivation with respect to the BangsaMoro Basic Law (BBL).
1. The proposed BBL as submitted to Congress for approval was the product of an exclusionary and furtive process not unlike the MOA-AD that the Supreme Court struck down during the term of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). FYI sessions were passed off as consultations. Isn’t that a gross injustice to those sectors that were left out?
2. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has not publicly renounced its links to Al Qaeda, the global terror organization causing so much insecurity, death and destruction around the world – Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Europe, the U.S, Australia and the Philippines. Its behavior and practice of tikman (half-truths), taqiyya (lies), deception and treachery to achieve its aims is a well known modus operandi. Wouldn’t giving a homeland to such a group be a travesty of justice and common sense that would only bring harm to the country and nation?
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3. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is not a sincere peace partner. It threatens war to obtain what it wants, in this case, the BBL version it wants which means keeping in there language that is unconstitutional, illegal and sets it up for future secession. It is an organization which by its consistent acts show their allegiance to Malaysia which has been funding their struggle for secession for the past 4 decades. Its founder, Hashim Salalmat, described the Moro Islamic Liberation Front members as Moros, not Filipinos; and that its aim was to establish an independent Islamic state which is aligned with the goal of Al Qaeda to establish a globalized Islamic State under a caliphate, hence, the insistence for Sharia Law. Why is the government insistent still on granting them a homeland unless it is a willing party to the country’s dismemberment?
4. Malaysia is a conflicted arbiter and its retention is despicable from any angle. It is the power, inspiration and enabler of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and international security observers warn that Malaysia is moving toward Islamic radicalism. Jemaah Islamiyya, Al Qaeda’s extension in Southeast Asia, thrives in its territory, and its members like Marwan freely moved about within Moro Islamic Liberation Front circles for years until he was killed in Mamasapano last January in Moro Islamic Liberation Front territory where 44 SAF law enforcers were massacred by the MILF-BIFF and other armed groups sympathizing with them.
5. Legal experts have cited the unconstitutionality of the BBL These have been enumerated time and again by social and mass media. If all the objectionable provisions are taken out, allegiance to the Philippines adhered to, and rewritten in a manner that leaves no room for dismemberment, that brings us back to the ARMM Law, which is the existing standard that sprung forth from the Tripoli Agreement.
6. BBL proponents need to smear the ARMM in order to justify its usurper. They say that social injustice, corruption, inefficency and poverty were not addressed by ARMM. That argument goes for the entire country as well. The prime solution – good governance – lies in uprooting its feudalistic culture, clamping down on lawlessness, basic education that equally promotes unity and patriotism, a functioning criminal justice system and economic growth. The roots of social injustice lies in our culture in general, and theirs in particular, that produces violence, bloodshed and backwardness. Giving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front a homeland when it does not even represent the people of Mindanao and those in the area it eyes for its Islamic base is, therefore, not the solurion.
7. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has not yet attained its BangsaMoro but already acts like it has one. The Austronesians and lumads were inhabitants of Mindanao long before Sheik Makdum came to Simunul. They have no basis making that spurious claim that Mindanao has always been Islamic and, therefore, rightfully belongs to them, more specifically the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, yet, it is prepared to give up Sabah which rightfully belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu, which means it is integral to Philippine territory. It is clearly a spurious land grab, like Sabah, based on false premises and fanned by geopolitical interests. Isn’t that the best example of another case of social injustice in the making?
Congress must understand this. The Philippines is not for sale and the chopping block. It must resist the money being reportedly dangled before them to pass the BBL. Giving jihadists an official homeland is a mindless act. It should call a spade a spade, draw the line on the sand, and declare that they shall not pass, not on their watch. Congress must act decisively and stay on the right side of history.
Yes to Peace, No to BBL!
[This article was originally published on Mr Alunan’s Facebook page and is featured here with his permission.]
Former Cabinet Secretary who served under the administrations of former presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos