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BBL Fears

In My Eyes: By Edward Antonio

I don’t know if President Aquino or his BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) cohorts promoting the BBL are keen on its passage in order to immortalize his presidency as the only president who brought “permanent peace” to Mindanao, where other presidents failed. I find it quite puzzling.

This is a very big gamble on the part of the president, considering that he did not even consult the people, only his cronies in the House of Congress, majority of whom are his allies.

And why should all Filipinos be consulted, fellas?

Because in the initial funding of the Bangsamoro government, the government stands to finance it with some P27B to P75B, the amount of which will gradually increase in the first 10 years — and the amount will come from us taxpayers!

People from Luzon and Visayas and many from Mindanao are howling of the speedy resolution of the many provisions of the BBL accusing the Aquino government of forgetting what happened to his 44 men in the Mamasapano incident tragedy.

I am not a pessimist, fellas, but the sincerity of the Muslim leaders is still doubtful.

The government cuddled NurMissuari for many years, allowing him to hold funds for his Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Misuari was 34 when he forged a pro-autonomy peace settlement with the Philippine government in Libya in 1976. In 1996, he led the MNLF in signing a pro-autonomy peace settlement with the Philippine government. He became governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which was established through a referendum for autonomy in 1989. The agreement resulted in another referendum for autonomy in 2001.

From 1996 to 2001, he was accused of mismanagement as ARMM governor, and his allies ousted him as MNLF head, resulting in a three-faction group, a division which holds up to now.

In 2001, he resorted to an armed struggle because he could not get the support of former president Gloria Arroyo for his second bid to head the ARMM. He fled to Malaysia where he was arrested and brought back to Manila. He served time at a police headquarters in southern Luzon until 2008.

In Sept. 9 last year, about 200 MNLF rebels led by Nur Misuari stormed into Zamboanga City in boats and took over several coastal villages, triggering a standoff between government forces and the rebels who held civilians hostage. The assault, apparently aimed at thwarting a government peace plan with another separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), paralyzed the city of over a million residents, razed 10,000 homes and reduced 30 to 40 hectares of once-thriving communities to rubble. About 4,500 soldiers and policemen were deployed to the city to crush Misuari’s deadly attempt to derail a final peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

The battle raged on for 3 weeks with about 218 dead and hundreds more wounded. Over 100,000 residents fled to evacuation centers.Missuari, himself, is yet to be accounted for.

The current MILF hierarchy, to date, has repeatedly rejected the demand to surrender its men who killed the 44 SAF officers. Such arrogance is uncalled for, as if the MILF stand on similar grounds with the Philippine government.

Even its chief negotiator MohagherIqbal is insincere!

His admission having multiple identities raised many questions, including the sincerity of the Muslim rebel group to the peace process quipped Sen. Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos, who heads of the Senate Committee on Local Government, noted that Iqbal’s revelation–beyond legal implications–calls into question the MILF’s good faith in entering into a peace agreement with the Philippine government.

The MILF’s denial that it knows slain terrorists BasitUsman and Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, is a child’s alibi, too, as if the Filipinos are mere idiots who know nothing about human psychology.

The murders of Generals Eduardo Batalla and Teodulfo Bautista and their menare still clear in our minds.

If the BBL is passed soon, and President Aquino shall have stepped down from office, God forbids, the following might be some scenarios:

The MILF will use the billions of funds to buy arms and renew its revolutionary struggle.

The MILF will unify all splinter rebel groups including the MNLF, the BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf to form a formidable army ready to wage a greater battle against the Philippine government.

The BBL territories will become a free haven or heaven for international Muslim terrorists, making Mindanao an international training ground for terrorist bombers and assassins.

The BBL government will become a powerful entity sifting the Philippine government of its people’s hard-earned money which they pay for taxes that eventually will land into the BBL leaders’ hands. Because of this power, it will demand for independence and will soon become an independent country, with the backing of its Middle East allies and Malaysia.

These are the reasons why the BBL needs more scrutiny when it goes to the Senate.

I pray that my fears will also be the senators’ fears.

Then, Iqbal and his army would then shout: “Allahu Akbar!”

God bless the lawmakers’ heads.#