04 Mar The Bangsamoro Basic Law: A Primer for Dummies

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JUAN SAYS: GMA news has prepared an infographic for us to understand what the Bangsamoro Basic Law is all about and how it works. However, the more we read, the more questions come to our minds, which is good at some point. At least finally we are all interested in Mindanao for once. We too are hoping that this emotional outcry to pass or not to pass BBL is just a start of how we take care of our brothers and sisters from down south. Take time to read and understand, ask questions but always have a heart for Mindanao, Muslim man o Kristiyano.
 
Here is a commentary on the BBL by Laisa Masuhud Alamia, a teacher, a lawyer and the Executive Secretary at the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao:
 
Here’s an info graphic prepared by gmanetwork.com on the provisions of the BBL, for those too lazy to read (before making hasty conclusions). If one would like to oppose it, better do it on substantial, legal terms, not on MASS HYSTERIA. For example, would a parliamentary form of government be a better system for the Moros compared to the current system of government in the autonomous region?
 
Nothing there about P70B being given to the MILF on a silver platter. Look again. Nothing.
 
What’s not found in the info graphic, though, is the fact that there’s going to be an election in May 2016 where registered voters will vote for those who they see fit to run the government, which may or may not necessarily be members of the party that the MILF will set up. Other parties and politicians and clans, dynasties, your neighbor, barber, CAFGU, Lolo, Tita, and what-have-you may run, too. That is, if the BBL is ratified in a plebiscite by a majority vote of registered voters living in the core territory, which by the way, EXCLUDES Zamboanga City. Check again. Zamboanga is not included. So, no need to panic, vivientes de Zamboanga, no matter how this “sirang plaka” is being used for whatever reason by the local leaders there.
 
One notable difference between RA 6736 (later amended to RA 9054), which created ARMM, and the BBL is that ARMM was “given” to the MNLF at that time, more or less. Well, you all know the story. Under the BBL, the MILF would need to set up a political party, run in the elections, and try to win in a democratically instituted process. If they lose, “eh, di talo.”
 
What else? Reserved powers mean ONLY the national government has the power to exercise such powers. The Bangsamoro would not. Concurrent powers mean both national and Bangsamoro governments shall exercise these powers. There will be NO separate police force or armed forces or separate COMELEC, COA, CSC — all these constitutionally created commissions. There would be regional offices of these commissions and offices similar to the administrative regions. But because the region is called Bangsamoro, we don’t call it PNP-ARMM or Region 9 or 12. We call it the Bangsamoro Regional Police. Or the Bangsamoro CSC. Bangsamoro COA. Bangsamoro COMELEC. Bangsamoro coffee. Bangsamoro Superglue. The Voice Bangsamoro! You get my drift?
 
Read first, then criticize if you must, but do it constructively, for purposes of improving the situation of a group of people who have long been marginalized and discriminated against, even professionals like me. Nay, for purposes of improving the situation of an entire country of many nations. Because the “Bangsamoro story is also part of the Filipino story.” I think that’s the first step: all of us recognizing the fact that this is a country of many nations, of various peoples, of different vibrant, pulsating beautiful tribes and cultures all living in one country. Side by side. Respecting each other. Letting one be. And, celebrating each other’s differences and similarities.
 
How I wish…
 
Disclaimer: (for the benefit of my well-meaning friends, classmates, and schoolmates from kindergarten to law school and former office mates and colleagues who have been wondering all this time): I have NOT joined the MILF. Nor have I joined the BIFF, ASG, JI or any terror group. Thank you. (Psst, I haven’t grown a tail. I’m still me. All human.)
 
These are glorious times. When you work for peace, people brand you as a sympathizer of a terrorist or rebel group. When you support an alternative to war such as the BBL (or I suppose any law that would civilize this maddening cycle of violence and conflict), you are branded as a terrorist or rebel. When you oppose the BBL, or some of its provisions or the peace process itself, you are branded as a spoiler of peace. Worst, when you’re a Moro or Muslim and a WOMAN at that, everything that you say doesn’t matter. To the onlooker, that veil on your head just blots everything out: here’s a terrorist, savage, uneducated, “hayop“, “pulbusin na yanmuklo. The end.
 
What does one do when this happens and you’re in the middle of it all? Nothing.
 
Well, I could tell you to pray that people would finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Be patient. Don’t fight back. Keep trying. In shaa Allah (God willing), things will turn out fine. And hope that people would finally accept us. And peace would reign.
 
But there are THOSE days. And when they come, I find solace in what Kurt Cobain of Nirvana has once said (never mind the circumstances of his life and death):
 
“If you’re really a mean person you’re going to come back as a fly and eat poop.”
 
I sure hope so.

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