Non- Passage of BBL may trigger the emergence of violent religious Extremism

CAMP DARAPANAN, SULTAN KUDARAT, MAGUINDANAO. (September 20, 2017) - The emergence of violent religious extremism is now a phenomenon globally not only in Islamic world but to other countries who have an issue of societal divides on socio- economic, cultural and political factors that serve as drivers to violent extremism.   

Taking into consideration our present situation in the Philippines particularly in the Bangsamoro Homeland, the Moro rebellion was inspired by the so called " JABIDAH MASSACRE " where at least 23 Moro trainees were massacred by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on March 18 , 1968 at Corregidor Island in Cavite and the Declaration of Martial Law on September 21 , 1972 by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos wherein many narratives of massacres , human right abuses and forced disappearances were committed by the military and paramilitary forces. 

Those horrible experience of the Moro people are still haunting the survivors, and their relatives of the historical injustices committed against them.    

 In 1996, former President Fidel V. Ramos just after the signing of 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF under Prof. Nur Misuari entered in an Exploratory and Preparatory talks with the MILF in August 1996 and followed by low - level negotiations commencing January the following year.

An agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities between the government and MILF was signed July 1997. The low - level negotiations continued under former Pres. Joseph Ejercito Estrada who instigated the all-out war in 2000 resulting to the capture of Camp Abubakkar, and other MILF major camps.

When former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over the presidency in 2002 after Estrada was ousted from the presidency she continued the resumption of peace talks with the MILF.  The MOA – AD, a product of the peace talks was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court prompting the late Ustadz Ombra Kato and Commander Bravo to launch offensives against various towns in North Cotabato and Lanao Del Norte.

When former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino II took the realm of the presidency he vowed to deliver the Bangsamoro aspirations by signing the FAB and CAB and the creation of Bangsamoro Political Entity but was disrupted by the unfortunate Mamasapano incident. 

In just a short while, ISIS-inspired extremist groups have risen-up in Mindanao due to frustrations and discontent on how the government address the historical injustices committed against the Moro people.       

And now with President Rodrigo R. Duterte, promising the same and vowed to make the Bangsamoro Government as a template for federalism by passing the new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), but as of press time, the same has never been certified as urgent bill and not even included as one of the priority bills of the Legislative - Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

The proposed law now in congress is still in limbo that there seems to be no one is interested to sponsor it.     

The non - passage of BBL may lead more and more Moro Youth to join other armed violent groups or ISIS- inspired groups whose activities would be catastrophic to civilian lives, properties and the country’s economy beyond control by the government.

Mohagher Iqbal Chair of MILF Peace Implementing Panel has emphasized in various engagements, " The passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law and the implementation of signed agreements are examples of concrete steps that can provide long - term solutions against violent extremism."