Duterte warns Aquino on rushing BBL
DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte warned President Benigno Aquino III against rushing the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying unresolved issues will only result in more conflicts in Mindanao.
“This early, we are already seeing signs that the peace which we have promised to the Filipino people, especially those from Mindanao, may not come that easy,” Duterte said.
In his “listening tour” for his federalism campaign in the town of Sibalom in Antique on Monday, Duterte said railroading the approval of the BBL “will do more harm than good.”
One of the concerns raised by Duterte was the claims of the Nur Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front that the Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement were sidelined just to rush the completion of the negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“We are now faced with a convoluted situation where the reference to the Tripoli Agreement in the BBL could lead to the question: Which would prevail, the BBL or the treaty which is the Tripoli Agreement?” Duterte, in a press release issued by his camp, said.
Duterte explained that under the Tripoli Agreement in 1976, a total of 13 provinces were identified as part of the autonomous region. These provinces include Basilan, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Lanao del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Palawan and Maguindanao. However, eight provinces including Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Palawan refused to join the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by voting no in the plebiscite.
“Does this mean that these eight provinces which earlier rejected their inclusion in the Moro autonomous region would now have to go through another plebiscite again to determine whether they would like to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region?” Duterte asked.
Duterte also mentioned the opposition of the Sultanate of Sulu in the planned inclusion of the sultanate in the new political entity.
“Let me repeat my warning that what is good for the Muslims of Central Mindanao, primarily the Maguindanaos, Maranaos, Iranuns and Kagans, may not be acceptable to the Tausugs, Yakans, and Samals. These are entirely two different Moro nations,” Duterte said.
The controversial mayor advised the Senate to critically review the BBL to ensure that its legislation would not create a string of fresh hostilities in Mindanao.
In its position paper submitted to the Senate, the government peace panel agreed that massive consultations is vital in making this peace deal an inclusive agreement.
“Like the Senate, we in the GPH Panel also believe that wide-based and meaningful consultations with various stakeholders constitute a significant foundation to sound public policy. It is, as it has always been our practice, consistent with the memorandum of instructions to us of His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, to listen to and take heed from the widest possible constituency of concerned groups and individuals when it comes to the Bangsamoro proposal, in particular, and the larger peace process, in general,” the government peace panel said.
The government peace panel said it is unfortunate if some groups and individuals feel that they have not been consulted but at least 553 consultations were conducted since 2010 wherein substantial positions, information and opinions were gathered which were essential in the drafting of the BBL.
And for the concern of the Misuari faction, the peace panel said several convergence meetings and workshops were conducted with MNLF leaders since 2011 with the help of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
All parties involved also agreed that the GPH-MILF peace agreement should be in line with the Tripoli Agreement.
On October 15, 2014, the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) was created as agreed upon during the meeting of the chairpersons of the MNLF and MILF and the OIC Secretary General to coordinate the movements of all fronts “toward achieving the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people towards just and lasting peace, and peaceful resolution of their problems.”
Duterte is campaigning for a shift from a unitary presidential form of government to a federal system. He is proposing for the creation of two separate Moro federal states including one for the Moros in the main island and another state for the island provinces.
Duterte served as an anti-terror adviser during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, using his experience in keeping Davao City safe from major terror attacks.
Duterte was also a consultant to the National Democratic Front as a resource person in the peace process. ABC