After long and tortuous negotiations over finding lasting peace and stability in war-torn Mindanao, finally President Benigno Aquino submitted to Congress leaders the draft of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The BBL has been described as the product of 17 years of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, led by its chair Mohagher Iqbal of the MILF and government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, copies of the 122-page document shall now undergo deliberation in Congress.
Both, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker of the House Feliciano Belmonte Jr., have committed to work on it fast so it could be passed and signed into law by President Aquino and a plebiscite can be conducted in the envisioned core territory of the Bangsamoro to ratify the new government that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by 2016.
Indeed, this is a pleasant development long desired by every peace-loving Filipinos, more especially those coming from Mindanao, both Christians and Muslims, except, perhaps, to one of the many splintered factions from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) whose members continue to be mesmerized at their renegade leader, Nur Misuari.
It is in this context that I am expressing my disgust at Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his stupid suggestion, as chairman of the Senate committee on local government, that the warrant for Misuari’s arrest be suspended so he could attend the public hearings on the proposed BBL.
“We are thinking about allowing a suspension of that to allow Chairman Nur Misuari to come and speak and give us his idea because if you remember the Zamboanga uprising was precisely a product of the MNLF feeling that they were left out of the process.”
How moronic, insensible and irresponsible can Marcos be when it is because of the utter death, destruction and dislocation of people caused by Misuari and his faction during last year’s siege of Zamboanga City, that the traitorous and egocentric leader should be excluded as a resource person in passing the BBL.
As if defying authority and taking matters into his own hands by viciously storming Zamboanga by force is not treasonous enough, now comes Marcos acknowledging and still giving Misuari importance instead of tracking him down and bringing him to justice.
All Marcos has to remember is that Misuari is no longer the sole and recognized leader of the MNLF. While the other disgruntled MNLF factions maybe invited to public hearings, either in Congress or in Mindanao, the same cannot be said of Misuari and his band of terrorists who continue to run away from the law after committing their heinous crimes in Zamboanga.
Incumbent Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman made a more sensible statement when he said, “I think the MNLF and not Misuari should be consulted. Because Misuari is not equivalent to MNLF or MNLF is equivalent to Misuari”.
“What is important here is not the organization but the people,” he added.
Hataman explained that the not everyone residing in the Bangsamoro region are members of the MNLF or the MILF.
“There are still more ordinary citizens and they are Bangsamoro and also Muslim,” he said.
Under the BBL, Bangsamoro people are defined as original inhabitants of the Mindanao and Sulu archipelago, and adjacent islands, as well as their descendants and the families of their spouses.
Hataman pointed out that whatever the new structure will be, what is important is that the Bangsamoro will be able to address the needs of the people.
Surely, Marcos can learn more from Hataman who is simply articulating the most basic of human values and common sense.
Lastly, I urge Marcos to read and be enlightened more about Misuari from this link: http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/38884-misuari-myths-mnlf.