Not Martial Law but genuine autonomy for Muslim Mindanao. That is only viable solution to the Mindanao Problem, according to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Monday on the occasion of its transmittal to Malacañang of the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.
The BTC counts among its components representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
BTC turned over the BBL draft to President Rodrigo Duterte, who promised to support it through the legislative process.
“In front of everybody,” Duterte said, “I commit to support my covenant with you. I will support and husband this instrument.”
BTC Chairman Ghazali Jaafar described this version as more inclusive than the previous bill that had failed to hurdle the 16th Congress.
Jaafar observed that the turmoil in Mindanao would only get worse with the continued use of armed force.
“Better for the government to pass BBL into law, rather than continue applying military solution to a political problem. Bombs are known to be the best recruiters of revolutionaries. Now, the best and viable way of resolving the Bangsamoro issue is by passing or enacting a law by Congress. No other way!”
He remarked that pouring billions of pesos in funds to rebuild Marawi will not bring a new face to the old Islamic City.
“Cement can be bought in the hardware store. But, in this case, what’s impossible to rehabilitate is the broken soul of the Maranao and the Moro people. How can you rehabilitate a broken soul?”
In terms of territory, the new proposed version of the BBL will include the traditional areas existing under the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, plus the cities of Isabela and Cotabato, and six municipalities in the province of Lanao Del Norte and 39 barangays in Cotabato.
The BTC council of leaders also includes representatives from the Christian community, the indigenous people, youth and women leaders.
Jaafar said BBL would be future proof in the sense that, when the country’s system of government shifts to a federal model, the Banagsamoro autonomous framework will be ready for it.
President Duterte is expected to certify the BBL as an urgent piece of proposed legislation.