By Maila Ager | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should start looking for “alternative ways” of seeking peace in Mindanao other than the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said, citing the dwindling support in Congress for the BBL.
Marcos said the lack of good faith on the MILF leadership, the absence of mechanisms that expedite the coordination between the government and the rebel group, issues on the chain of command, and constitutionality issues make the BBL a “very weak process.”
“All of these things point to the glaring weakness in that whole process. As you asked, the way forward is to take a change of perspective and not think only BBL. People had counted BBL as the solution, the be-all and end-all. Basta’t ipasa ‘yung BBL tapos problema natin. Mukhang hindi ganon (Just as long as the BBL is passed, we are then left to face the consequences. That shouldn’t be the case),” he said in a statement issued by his office on Wednesday, based on his earlier interview over ABS-CBN’s News Channel.
“Had the House subjected the BBL for voting today, the proposal would have encountered a vote of no support from legislators,” he said.
Marcos said many legislators were asking why the national government would fund the Bangsamoro republic from the funds coming from other local government units, the issue on “power sharing,” administrative problems and the issue about who would be in control of the police forces to be assigned in Bangsamoro-declared territories.
These issues, if left unanswered, he said, would result in “confusion and chaos” when the bill is passed into law.
“Those of us who had invested in working towards this peace, we are in a very difficult situation in trying to find the ways to move the process forward,” he said.
Prior to the Mamasapano incident where 44 elite policemen were killed, Marcos said the Senate was working on a timetable for the BBL with March 18, the last day of session, as the target date for the measure to be passed.
But he expressed fear that the Maguindanao incident “had completely demolished” the timetable set by the legislators.
“I am afraid the timetable is completely demolished, that is the only word I can use because there are so many inquiries that still need to be conducted,” he said.
“There are nine entities that are conducting this investigation, we are in the midst of forming the Truth Commission which, in my view, should be the overarching body and take the results of all the investigation and come up with a single report on what exactly happened,” said Marcos.
The senator then urged the government to consider the possibility of reviewing its actions to date, especially those presumptions that the government took in negotiating peace with the MILF.
“The first step is for the government to work on re-invigorating the trust and confidence of the people behind the peace process. People have become less tolerant with the MILF,” Marcos said.