MANILA – Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday temporarily suspended all hearings and discussions about the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) passage at the Senate following a bloody encounter between the police and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters last Sunday in Maguindanao.
According to Marcos, what transpired over the weekend might disorganize the passage of the BBL further.
“I am anxious to hear from the MILF leadership as to how we move forward from this. This MILF attack on government forces is a major obstacle to the long and lasting peace we have been working for in Muslim Mindanao,” said the senator.
He said that he was horrified at the “massacre” of at least 30 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) last Sunday.
Marcos, as chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, sentenced the use of violence by MILF against the government.
“I decided to suspend indefinitely all discussions and hearings related to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law until this is clarified. We cannot in conscience, proceed with these hearings while a cloud of serious doubt hangs over the security situation in the south,” he said in a statement.
He added that an agreement cannot come out because of “threat of such extreme violence” and that “violence has no room in a civilized society.”
Based on reports, SAP members were deployed to the area to bring warrants of arrest against Zulkifli bin Hir, known as “Marwan” and Basit Usman,
According to Von Al Haq, vice chair for military affairs of MILF, the team of PNP were not cooperative when they entered the area. Thus, the MILF reacted.
But according to Marcos, the SAF have a legitimate mission and the MILF should have entertained.
“I condemn the use of violence by the MILF. They signed a peace agreement with the government, and therefore, the MILF is already a partner of government. Hence, even without coordination, they should have exercised great patience and caution,” he said.
He added, “They were just doing their jobs. The fact that they were not carrying loads of ammunition show that they are not there for a fight. It was not an attack on the MILF. Lethal force was clearly not necessary. I am greatly saddened by this terrible event. I pray we find a way forward.”