Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte believed that hastening the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will only result to more conflicts in Mindanao, with some matters still left unresolved.
“Let this be a fair warning to our national leaders. The indicators of an eruption of violence in the Central Mindanao area are becoming very evident,” Duterte said.
“This early, we are already seeing signs that the peace which we have promised to the Filipino people, especially those from Mindanao, may not come that easy,” Duterte said in a separate statement, pointing out that rushing BBL will only ‘do more harm than good.’
Duterte expressed concern over the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, which he believed were set aside to hasten negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“We are now faced with a convoluted situation where the reference to the Tripoli Agreement in the BBL could lead to the question: Which would prevail, the BBL or the treaty which is the Tripoli Agreement?” Duterte asked.
Under the Tripoli Agreement, 13 provinces including Basilan, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Palawan, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur were regarded as part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. However, of the 13 provinces, only five joined the autonomous region. These included Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
“Does this mean that these eight provinces which earlier rejected their inclusion in the Moro autonomous region would now have to go through another plebiscite again to determine whether they would like to join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region?” Duterte said.
“Let me repeat my warning that what is good for the Muslims of Central Mindanao, primarily the Maguindanaos, Maranaos, Iranuns and Kagans, may not be acceptable to the Tausugs, Yakans, and Samals. These are entirely two different Moro nations,” Duterte added.
The Davao City mayor then advised the Senate to take cautions in deliberating and passing the BBL.
Massive consultations for the peace deal
The government peace panel also recommended taking ‘massive’ consultations first, before approving the BBL.
“Like the Senate, we in the GPH Panel also believe that wide-based and meaningful consultations with various stakeholders constitute a significant foundation to sound public policy. It is, as it has always been our practice, consistent with the memorandum of instructions to us of His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, to listen to and take heed from the widest possible constituency of concerned groups and individuals when it comes to the Bangsamoro proposal, in particular, and the larger peace process, in general,” the government peace panel said in a position paper sent to the Senate.