As the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) faces stormy weather in Congress, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he plans to meet with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders to discuss issues posing as stumbling block to the passage of the historic law seen as a solution to the Moro problem in Mindanao.
The proposed BBL, an offshoot of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the government and the MILF, is in danger of being mothballed by Congress in wake of the Mamasapano massacre in Maguindanao , where 44 members of the police Special Action Force (SAF) were killed by Muslim militants.
The killing of the police commandos, on a mission to arrest a Malaysian terrorist and his Filipino cohort, sparked national outrage and threats to junk BBL from members of Congress.
The massacre was blamed on the MILF and the renegade Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Duterte who believes peace can be achieved in Mindanao only through negotiations and not in the battlefields, is a strong supporter of the BBL.
Duterte had warned that if the BBL crashes, there would be new violence in Mindanao where the Filipino Muslim had fought a costly war for nearly 40 years for autonomy for the Bangsamoro.
Duterte said he would express his support to the BBL with MILF chair Murad Ebrahim and vice chair Ghadzali Jaafar, but would also raise his apprehension over certain provisions of the BBL including creation of autonomous police and military forces in the new Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE). The BJE, which covers Mindanao Muslim-dominated areas, will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Congress had placed the BBL on top of its agenda and was deep into deliberating of the landmark measure when the Mamasapano massacre happened to throw a monkey wrench into President Benigno Aquino’s vow that the BBL should be in place before he bows out of office in 2016. ROGER M. BALANZA