By. Mario J. Mallari | Tribune
Even residents of the core provinces in the proposed Bangsamoro substate are wary of the intentions of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is ratified as Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II voiced during the Senate committees on local government and peace, unifi-cation and reconciliation hearing on the BBL a wide-spread fear of forceful take-over of terri-tories by the rebel group.
“What is being talked about here is that the MILF will take over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and provinces under it. We cannot blame the people to think of this scenario as the BBL was not explained thoroughly to us. The BBL should unify and not divide the people of Sulu,” Tan said.
Senate local government committee head Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. led the public hearing on the BBL yesterday with Tan and Davao del Norte Rep. Anton Lagdameo completing the panel.
Sulu government officials, private individuals and members of nongovernment organizations attended the hearing.
A representative of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu also indicated the wish of Sabah claimants to be excluded from the proposed Bangsamoro substate.
Datu Albi Julkarnain stated the apprehensions of the member of the Sulu Sultanate’s royalties and traditional leaders saying the preference was for the creation of another autonomous region separate from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The Sultanate said that despite the historical injustice that it has experienced, it remained subservient to Philippine laws.
Julkarnain said the enactment of the BBL would degrade the Sultanate as a mere “political subdivision” of the new Bangsamoro entity, diminishing its historical roots.
“It would be a terrible degradation and gross violation of our political heritage and historical prominence and distinction as the first sovereign nation in this part of the globe,” he added.
Jlkarnain said the Sultanate was not even consulted during the making of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“I never heard (anyone) talking about the Sulu Sultanate, when in fact the Sulu Sultanate is known internationally. The Sulu Sultanate was not given any chance to talk to any forum,” Julkarnain said.
Marcos said that on May 25, the Senate will hold a hearing which will enable the sultanates in Mindanao to air their side on the BBL.
Admitting that public hearings for the BBL in Zamboanga City and Sulu would be “hostile” against it, the MILF called on Marcos not to waste “precious time” and just support the BBL.
The MILF, in its official website, said that supporting the BBL, Marcos, son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, can atone for the misdeeds of his father during his 20-year reign in the country.
“He can do this by supporting the passage of a good BBL in the Senate – not to use many precious days for hearings that are not extremely necessary or whose outcome can safely be predicted,” the MILF said.
Marcos is the chair of the Senate committee on local government that is conducting public consultations for the MILF and Malacanang-backed BBL.
The MILF conceded that the scheduled public hearings for the BBL yesterday and today in Zamboanga City and Jolo will be against the BBL.
“By this early, we wish to alert him that those who are going to attend the hearings in Zamboanga City and Sulu are all preselected already, reportedly by powerful individuals who would like to ensure that the results would not be favorable to the BBL as crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC),” the MILF said.
Both Zamboanga City and Sulu are known anti-BBL areas but were included in the proposed Bangsamoro entity.
The MILF enumerated the supposed sins of the late President Marcos against the Muslims, including the Malisbong massacre in Sultana Kudarat; the Pata Island massacre in Sulu were more than 2,000 were killed; the Patikul massacre where 700 died.
“We hope Senator Marcos will not follow the footsteps of his father, who had caused the death of thousands of people in Mindanao, as a result of his declaration of martial law,” the MILF said.
For the nth time, the MILF warned that the non-passage of the BBL, as agreed by the MILF and the Aquino government, will only result in violence.