EDITORIAL - Pursuing peace
(The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2016 - 9:00am

They’re down but not out, according to members of the government peace panel, after Congress adjourned the other day without passing even a mangled version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The peace negotiators lamented the waste of effort and public funds to hammer out the original BBL, but called for calm and patience as they urged the next administration to pick up where they left off.

The deaths of 44 Special Action Force commandos at the hands of combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao last year doomed the BBL. While senators and congressmen went through the motions of crafting a constitutionally compliant BBL, they gave strong indications that the law did not stand a chance.

Whoever becomes president can be expected to revive the peace process. MILF leaders have now explored peace with two administrations and likely understand the virtue of patience. There is a need to rebuild trust on both sides in the wake of the SAF 44 deaths. This task may be easier with a new administration and some new players in the peace process.

In the meantime, there are still many things that can be done to promote the welfare of the Bangsamoro. There is a peace treaty in place with former Islamic separatists, and there is a fully organized and functioning Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. By the reckoning of Malacañang itself, the current ARMM governor and other officials of the autonomous region are doing a good job.

No peace process is stopping the government from dealing decisively with the troublemakers in the region – the BIFF, Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah fugitives like Zulkifli bin Hir, the terrorist known as Marwan who was killed by the SAF commandos. Laws must be enforced, including those on gun possession especially during the election period.

The government also need not wait for a BBL to bring development, stimulate economic activity, create jobs and boost education and health care in the Muslim areas. The international community, which has been supportive of the peace process, also supports development efforts in the ARMM and conflict zones. The BBL may be dead, but not the effort to eradicate poverty and bring lasting peace in Mindanao.

ABU SAYYAF AND JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH ATILDE AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW MAGUINDANAO MALACA MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT AND BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS MUSLIM MINDANAO PEACE SPECIAL ACTION FORCE
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with