Peace process or BBL?

Senator Bongbong Marcos, now a vice presidential candidate, is still insisting on his usual line of thought that pursuing the peace process is the best way to keep the terrorists calling themselves Islamic State out of the Philippines.

We respect very much his view --- but we also doubted very much the wisdom. It has been the old way of handling the armed conflict in Mindanao, which has brought us to nowhere. The bloody mess is still with us after almost 44 years which started in 1972.

By the way, if the peace process is used indefinitely in order to deny the resolution of the conflict, then that is another matter. That is dilatory tactic, if not an outright insincerity.

The peace process is not the end in itself, which Senator Marcos clearly implies. The end of the process is by passing a law, say the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which he replaced with his version, Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR).

Of course, the MILF is not against the continuation of the peace process. This is the reason why the government and MILF agreed during their special meeting in Kuala Lumpur on February 10-11 to proceed with the peace process and maintain the ceasefire agreement in Mindanao, among others.

We don’t know if his view is equal to talk, talk, talk, and talk until the rebels melt down and join the national body politic or surrender, without solving the Moro Question or Problem.  We request him to make a clear-cut position on the BBL whether he will support the passage of such a law or he will insist on his BLBAR which is much lower in category than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Without giving justice to the Moros in Mindanao, there will be no end to the bloody mess in this region. New armed groups, more radicals than the MNLF and MILF, will continue to appear on the horizon and challenge the government through violent means. More importantly, the MNLF and its factions and the MILF will continue to have legitimate axes to grind against the government and our people will continue to support us.  It is this legitimacy of their cause that sustains the relevance of their struggles.

Worse, as the problem stays or worsens, new negative development like the GPH-China confrontation in South China Sea continues to turn for the worst. And if by chance, Vice President Jejomar Binay wins the presidency, he says he would pursue the claim to Sabah. 


This can be double whammy for this country!