How the Bangsamoro transition team, government can help curb extremism

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2019 01:50 PM

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MANILA - The leadership of the new Bangsamoro region, both the official government and the transition authority, will play an important role in helping curb violent extremism in Mindanao, an analyst said Wednesday.

Recent studies showed poverty, lack of governance and lack of education cause extremism, said Benedicto Bacani, executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance.

"They have to start delivering as well because they have this power to organize and reorganize and restructure. You have to deliver and govern already. This is a tough job," he said, referring to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the members of which President Rodrigo Duterte will have to assign soon.

Bacani said there would have to be a "normalization process" which would involve a decommissioning of combatants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"This is critical. Not only must the BTA deliver, but the normalization process should really result in real development, people feeling development in communities," he told ANC's Early Edition.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law, the enabling measure of the 2014 peace deal between government and the MILF, was ratified last week after a vote that showed favor for the measure in parts of Mindanao covered by a plebiscite. 

The new Bangsamoro region would comprise of the whole of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao--including the province of Sulu, which voted against its inclusion--and Cotabato City.

But just days after the January 21 vote, 2 bombing incidents rocked the southern region. 

On Sunday, twin blasts in a Catholic cathedral in Jolo, Sulu killed at least 21 and injured about 100 others. On Wednesday, 2 people were killed while 4 others were injured in a grenade attack on a mosque in Zamboanga City.

Bacani hopes the incidents would not cause a rift between Christians and Muslims in Mindanao, as he reminded the public that "violent extremism will be there whether you have BOL or not."

"It's a global phenomenon," he said.