MANILA, March 14, 2015—An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is blowing the whistle on what he believes to be the negative implications of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), noting that its passage “does not guarantee peace in Mindanao” and just creates a “haven of revolutionary Muslim groups” in the south.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, said the BBL only legalizes the existence of the revolutionary Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), guarantees the flow of Money in Mindanao, and assures the Bangsamoro of its right to self-governance.
“The worse that can happen is to make Mindanao a haven of revolutionary Muslim groups, both local and international, that harbor the aspiration of establishing a Muslim caliphate through terroristic activities or Islamic revolution,” he said.
Haven of revolutionary groups
Noting the words of government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Secillano said “passing the draft BBL into a law will not totally solve the conflict in Mindanao as there are still other armed groups that are sowing chaos in the region.”
According to Secillano, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and his allies are trying to promote the idea that the BBL is the “only way to peace” in Mindanao.
“These groups (rebel groups) operate through a network. The ties that bind them are soaked in blood. They may employ different means or strategies but surely they are motivated by the same goal, that of self-determination and eventually independence,” he added.
Public order, safety
Secillano also criticized the provision in the draft BBL stating that “the Bangsamoro Government shall have the primary responsibility over public order and safety, leaving the Central Government with its Armed Forces and National Police safeguarding only the region’s external security.”
According to him, the proposed law requires that the Central Government must “coordinate and cooperate” with the Bangsamoro Government before arresting dubious characters in the region.
He raised doubts about this provision, noting that the arrest of wanted criminals can hardly be done even with “coordination and cooperation” between both parties.
“The government is seemingly held hostage to deliver without any substantial changes and in toto the Draft BBL…Peace, under (this proposed law), would seem to be a mere consequence of power, financial stability and the ‘autonomous’ government granted to the Bangsamoro under most probably the MILF,” Secillano said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza/CBCP News)