PNoy: BBL key to long-lasting peace in Mindanao

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 09 2015 12:13 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2015 02:01 AM

MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III defended anew the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying the legislative measure is key to achieving long-lasting peace in Mindanao.

In his speech during the commemoration ceremonies for the 73rd anniversary of the fall of Bataan, Aquino said the lessons learned by the Philippines and the rest of the world from past great wars push him to pitch for the passage of the BBL.

''Imposible ang pag-unlad sa pagkakanya-kanya. Higit pang pagdurusa at di-pagkakaunawaan ang idudulot ng karahasan, samantalang kaunlaran naman ang bunga ng pagkakaisa. Ang aral pong ito ang lalong nagtutulak sa atin upang itaguyod ang pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa Mindanao, at isulong ang Bangsamoro Basic Law,'' Aquino said.

The January 25 Mamasapano clash, which saw 44 elite police commandos killed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other armed groups, has put in peril the fate of the BBL, which is a product of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The proposed measure will enable the creation of a Bangsamoro region that would replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which was once described by the Aquino administration as a failed experiment.

Despite the growing public distrust with the MILF due to the clash, the Moro group said it remains committed to the peace process. The group, however, warned that a watered-down BBL may force disgruntled MILF members to go back to radicalism.

Aquino said the country must continue seizing the opportunity to achieve long-lasting peace in Mindanao by not abandoning talks with the Moro group despite the recent setbacks.

''Isipin ninyo: Ang dating kalaban, ngayon, katuwang na natin sa pagkamit ng kapayapaang makatarungan sa lahat. Sa pagbubuklod natin upang itaguyod ang kaayusan sa Mindanao, higit nating mapapalawak ang pagkakataon para sa ating mga kababayan. Sa pamamagitan nito, wala nang mauudyok na pumanig sa mga radikal, terorista, at sa mga nagsusulong ng pansariling agenda,'' he said.

''Dalawang henerasyon na po ang nagdusa dahil nangibabaw ang karahasan sa Mindanao. Ngayong tayo na ang narito, hindi po natin hahayaang matulad dito ang mga susunod pang salinlahi. Gaano man ito kahirap, anumang pasakit ang ating harapin, itataguyod natin ang kapayapaan dahil ito ang paraan upang makamit ang katarungan para sa lahat."

Congress is now under pressure to pass the BBL, even as critics continue to raise objections to what they believe are questionable provisions in the proposed law.

The Aquino administration is hoping for the law to be passed this June to allow the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority which will be a hold-over government until the May 2016 elections.