“House of Representatives has collectively failed the Bangsamoro People”: Dep. Speaker Balindong

 “Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, I hate to admit that this House of Representatives has collectively failed the Bangsamoro People,” Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Pangalian Balindong said in his privilege speech on Wednesday (Jan 27).

Disclosing that he was speaking with grieving heart, Balindong, Representative of the 2nd District of Lanao, said, “I close the book of hope for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

Some national news outfits reported last January 21 that the House of Representatives would vote for BBL passage on January 27. However, it did not happen. There are three session days to go.

The BBL is the product of more than 17 years of peace talks between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). If passed into law, the measure will pave way for the establishment of autonomous Bangsamoro region that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“Fifty-one public hearings, 200 hours of committee level debates and eight months of consultations are all put to waste - thrown into the abyss of uncertainty and darkness,” he lamented.

“By the sheer tyranny of the majority, we have foreclosed all possible peaceful, legal and constitutional avenues for peace,” Balindong stressed.

He asked his colleagues to recall the assurances and promises they made that the House of Representatives will pass the BBL and implement the peace agreement.

Balindong, a prime advocate of BBL, asked further how he could tell the Bangsamoro people to remain steadfast to peace without the BBL. “How can thousands of combatants return to normal life when we did not deliver the basic law that would legalize the establishment of the Bangsamoro,” he continued.

The Deputy Speaker described their failure to pass the Bangsamoro law as a “perfect recipe for radicalization.” “I have not been remised in presenting to you this scenario but some of us here simply dismissed it as a form of threat,” he said.

“As a minority in this country, we may have lost the terms of numbers but we have never lost in the discourse as it springs from the justness and legitimacy of our cause,” Balindong said.

He ended his speech saying, “I leave the future in Allah’s wisdom, mercy and compassion.”