Ex-MILF spokesman doubts BBL can survive Mamasapano tragedy intact | Inquirer News

Ex-MILF spokesman doubts BBL can survive Mamasapano tragedy intact

/ 08:51 PM February 12, 2015

COTABATO CITY, Philippines, Philippine – The former spokesperson of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front expressed doubt on Thursday that the Bangsamoro government could take form in 2016 because of the rippling effects of the Mamasapano clash

Eid Kabalu also doubted if “the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law can survive” the situation.

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“Right now, it’s suspended. But even if lawmakers will deliberate on it, there’s not much time. With that, (the MILF) can’t hold power in 2016,” Kabalu told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said the dimming future for the BBL has also saddened them.

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But then, he said the MILF was not losing hope that Congress and the Senate would deliberate on it and eventually pass it without changes.

However, he said in the event the BBL was rejected, the government should be able to present an alternative for peace to be achieved.

While the fate of the BBL hangs, a Catholic Bishop and an Army major general will lead the 90-kilometer “Bike for Love” on Valentine’s Day, which was organized in support of the government’s campaign for peace in Mindanao and the passage of the BBL.

Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo and the 6th Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, will bike along with hundreds from multi-sectoral groups from the 6th ID compound in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, and stop at Tacurong City at a point in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao for a short program. The two groups will then bike together to Mamasapano town, site of the deadly clash that claimed the lives of 44 Special Action Force commandos from the Philippine National Police, 18 MILF rebels and five civilians.

“The activity will showcase the concerted efforts and cooperation among stakeholders as a mechanism of strong support to peace,” Pangilinan said in a statement.

Civil society organizations, meanwhile, have set a ‘National Day of Healing for Unity and Peace’ on March 6 to help calm the still mounting outrage over the Mamasapano clash.

The date coincides with the 40th day after the carnage.

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The 40th day of a person’s death is observed in both Christian and Muslim faiths. It is within this period that one’s soul is believed to have completed a journey to rejoin the Creator.

March 6 also marks the 109th anniversary of the ‘Battle of Bud Dajo’ in Jolo, Sulu, between American occupation forces and Moro residents who opposed the imposition then of cedula (poll tax) by the colonial government. Based on historical accounts, the two-day fight resulted in the deaths of more than 600 Moros and 21 American soldiers.

“Happening in a space of over a hundred years, the two tragedies are just beads in a string of violent incidents in the history of the Moro region that saw centuries of colonial resistance, and decades of struggle for independence that later transformed into a demand for meaningful autonomy,” explains Augusto Miclat, executive director of nongovernment group Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID).

“Let us commemorate these events and honor those who died by keeping our commitment to helping build enduring peace in the region. We dishonor the dead by thirsting for more blood,” Miclat said.

The peace-building coalition All-Out Peace Now! said that giving “the best, fullest and contextually appropriate meaning” to those fallen in the Mamasapano clash would mean “staying the course of peace and pursuing the healing of various social wounds that continue to inspire the use of violence.”

On March 6, there will be simultaneous rituals in major Mindanao cities and in Manila at daybreak “to signify our quest for a fresh start for the conflict-affected communities,” according to Miclat.

“The positive results of the peace process, and the negative consequences reversed and avoided are enough reasons not to abandon it,” Miclat added.

In the course of the Moro rebellion, more than 120,000 people were estimated to have died since the 1970s; and some two million displaced, the largest of which was in 2008 when 600,000 persons had to flee as their communities were engulfed in the war sparked by attacks staged by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). The BIFF broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain signed by the Arroyo government’s negotiators with the MILF was unconstitutional.

A 2005 study by the World Bank estimated the economic cost of the conflict since 1972 at $10 billion.

The Moro rebellion has also polarized the Christians and Muslims. In light of the Mamasapano tragedy, the peace groups are worried about “the developing Morophobia and the re-emergence of prejudices and biases against Muslims (which) only shows the still precarious state of social and religious tolerance in our country.”

“The centuries-old armed conflict is anathema to Mindanao’s growth and development. Today, we are at a crucial crossroad that offers a way for us to break free from this sordid situation,” an IID statement said. Reports filed by Jeoffrey Maitem, Edwin Fernandez, Ryan Rosauro and Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao

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