BTC-EO’s signing and the tirades

Last November 7, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the Executive Order (EO) that would reconstitute the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) which will draft the new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). It also enlarged its membership from 15 to 21 thereby providing wider participation from other sectors of Moro society. The more the merrier, as the saying goes.

So far, this is the most concrete step the Duterte administration has done to illustrate its firm and sincere commitment to settle the armed conflict in Mindanao that claimed the lives of more than 150,000 since 1972. It also arrests the fading hope of our people for the early reconstitution of the BTC and eventually the crafting of the BBL for submission to the Office of the President (OP) and finally to Congress.

The next step in the pipeline is the immediate appointment of the 21 commissioners of the BTC. According to a well-placed source, a list of 13 nominees from the government (only 10 will be chosen) has already been readied. On the MILF side, no list has been finalized yet. However, after the signing of the EO, it is expected the MILF can do it in a short notice.  

Admittedly, the crafting of a new BBL is not for easy picking. The previous BTC, despite initial difficulties, had accomplished it in record time. The reason for it is markedly special. All the commissioners did their job in the spirit of objectivity and impartiality. For three years there had never been an instance where they have to decide through the division of the house. All decisions were done either by consensus or the BTC chairman was authorized to decide for the Commission. This time it can be duplicated, despite the increase in the membership. As long as all the commissioners have the higher interests of the Bangsamoro people in their hearts and are guided by the letter and spirit of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), there is nothing to worry. In fact, it can be more fascinating and enlightening now, because they can also improve, enhance, and enrich the proposed law by taking cues from any good provision of other agreements that were not implemented, say the GRP-MNLF Final Peace agreement of 1996. The only requirement is that nothing dangles and every aspect of it falls into place and form a coherent edifice of law.

Be this as it may, we are saddened by the tirades of Brother Nur Misuari, chair of another MNLF faction, hurled against the MILF. Most of the ranting or diatribes are below the belt, and should not be said at all to fellowmen especially to Muslims. We wanted to answer back, but it does not serve any purpose, and it is not the signature of the MILF. More importantly, that is not the way of Islam. We better keep quiet and leave the issue to the better judgment of the people.  In the end, only real gold glitters.

By the way, no one, group or organization has the monopoly of working for what purportedly is for the good of our people. This is an open issue that can only be decided in the future or in the end. A case in point is this. After we have exhausted our appeal to the leaders of the so-called BIFM/BIFF to reconsider their decision to separate from the MILF and they did not budge any inch, we told them: “Prove that you are correct and the MILF is wrong. Go on your own way and we will go our way.” Today, where are they and where are we?