By Marlene Alcaide, Radyo5 | InterAksyon.com
MANILA - The suspension of hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not meant to derail peace in Mindanao, but to provide stakeholders a chance to study some troubling matters spawned by the January 25 police anti-terrorist mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that saw 44 elite commandos killed by hundreds of Moro rebels, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.
Marcos was among those who attended the solemn rites at Villamor Air Base Thursday morning, when the remains of 42 of the fallen members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) were flown in from Mindanao by three C130 aircraft.
In an ambush interview, Marcos said that, while the hearings on BBL were suspended - his local government committee is at the helm of hearings - it's important to study whether the BIFF should be included in the BBL, and not just the MILF, as there seemed to be no assurance of lasting peace if the government were just talking to the MILF.
The MILF itself is under fire, with people and lawmakers demanding to know whether it knew about, or even harbored, two terrorists in its territory. And if it didn't, what level of effective control it exerted over its supposedly controlled territory.
Why, for instance, were the BIFF men in the MILF camp? Marcos asked.
Marcos hinted that, without an inclusive scope where every armed group that matters is taken into consideration, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law may not serve as an effective instrument to rein in all the armed groups that could potentially scuttle a permanent peace in Muslim Mindanao.
"So, we have to include all the warring factions if we are to have peace; there’s no way we can afford to leave one or two armed groups out there. The bottom line is that we don't want war. We want everything to be resolved peacefully.
"Sometimes, we get so heavily invested in a particular attempt that we lose sight of the larger picture, like, say, beyond the level of the BBL. We need to discern just what really is happening, because we can't have a peace agreement that, apparently, will still need to be fixed. We still need to fix it."
Senator Marcos articulated the need to find out what other issues need to be addressed, through modifications or addition of relevant provisions in the BBL, in order to prevent a repeat of the tragic fiasco.
Whatever else may have happened or been said, Marcos asserted, there should be no stopping BBL from pushing through.