MANILA — Malacanang on Monday stressed that the Aquino administration is firm on its stand for the eventual approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to achieve a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
”There is no alternative to peace. It (war) is too costly for us,” Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda said in a briefing Monday.
Lacierda said the proposed measure was submitted to Congress for the lawmakers “to ascertain the parameters of the Bangsamoro judicial entity, as well as relations between those people who are living within the entity.”
He said questions about who the law will favor should not be accommodated because this will be addressed while the proposed measure is being deliberated in Congress.
”And for that particular reason, Congress — both House and the Senate — are looking into the legalities and the parameters ensuring that no one group will be favored,” he said.
There are sectors doubting the eventual passage of the proposed BBL within the Aquino administration following the death of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) on Jan. 25, 2015 in Mamasapano, Maguindano, which the government said was due to “misencounter” with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The SAF members were on a mission to serve the arrest warrants of two suspected terrorists – Filipino bomb maker Abdulbasit Usman and Malasian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, reportedly a leader of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiya (JI).
Lacierda cited that “this is a period of grief, it’s a period of mourning” but pointed out that “if we are not able to attain peace, the alternative is just too costly for us.”
He said that from 1972 to 1996, nearly 120,000 people died because of war in the country while about 982,000 died in 2002 alone when the government called for an all-out war in Mindanao.
He said violence and injustice will not end if the peace process will not be pushed through.
He admitted that “it is difficult for us to appreciate why we need fight for peace in this very emotional state” but also stressed that “we need to have a just and lasting peace and that’s what we’re trying to achieve in this Bangsamoro Basic Law.”
”And let the House, let the Senate debate on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that — we’re near there. Peace can be achieved but let’s make sure that the peace is just and lasting,” he said.
The Palace official also assured the public that the police’s Board of Inquiry, formed to assess what happened in Mamasapano, will not leave any stones unturned so that justice can be achieved for the SAF members.
He said that the government remains supportive of both the PNP and the military as proven by the reforms to uplift their welfare.
He also discounted threats of coup d’état or unrest among the government’s security forces and that a loyalty checked has been made.
”We’re going to seek why this unfortunate incident happened. Maybe from there, we’ll be able to find the solutions; maybe we can find answers and moving forward, actions that – to make sure that these things should never happen again,” he said.