Videograb from Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri FB Account

‘Enough of these wars, our Moro brethren had suffered long enough’- Senator Zubiri

Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri urged his fellow members of the Senate to support the passage of Senate Bill No. 1717 or Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) citing there has been long suffering of the Moro people brought by the protracted war in Mindanao.

“Enough of these wars, Mr. President. Our Moro brethren had suffered long enough,” Zubiri said in his sponsorship speech on February 28, 2018 while relating at the plenary what they saw at the ground zero of Marawi City. 

Zubiri, a Mindanaon senator, took a side trip at Marawi City while in the course of doing series of public hearing in Mindanao for the proposed legislation.

“When we saw the destruction of Marawi City, we could not hold back our tears Mr. President. What once were imposing, sturdy and colorful structures are now reduced to rubbles,” Zubiri narrated.  

He also cited the World Bank study which says that the economic cost of conflict in Mindanao is estimated to be at $2 to $3 billion.

“Aside from the direct economic costs are the heavy human and social toll of the conflict. The same study estimated the death toll since 1970 at 120,000 people, and unaccounted numbers of wounded and disabled,” the senate bill proponent said.

He also said that the internally displaced people had reached to two million of whom 1 million in 2000 alone during the "all-out-war" under the stint for former President Joseph Estrada.

Zubiri briefly discussed the salient features of the BBL which are the Territory, Powers of Government, Intergovermental Relations Mechanism/Bodies, Bangsamoro Government, Bangsamoro Justice System, Fiscal Autonomy, Special Development Fund, Plebiscite, and Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

“Mr. President, I do not want to sound like a warmonger, but if we do not heed this clamor for change in the Bangsamoro, God forbid, restlessness among the armed groups in Mindanao could spiral out of control,” Zubiri warned.

“The possibility of another Marawi siege would not be far from the horizon. The country can no longer afford more bloodshed,” he stressed.

Zubiri said, “Our generation has suffered long enough from the clutches of poverty, from the evils of war. Let not our children and their future suffer some more.”

He concluded his speech saying, “Mr. President, in the course of the Bangsamoro struggle for political and economic self-determination so much blood had been shed, so many lives had been lost and so much hope had gone.”

“Let us thrust ourselves on the right side of history, and certainly, passing the BBL now is on the right side of history,” he added.

The MILF leadership has been warning that the non-passage of the BBL shall be capitalized by extremist groups who might encouraged frustrated young Moro.