Suara Bangsamoro: “The BBL version passed by Congress is not going to answer the Moro problem”

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[Statement of the Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Bangsamoro) on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law]

This newly-passed BBL does not inspire hope in our hearts that we of the Bangsamoro will receive justice to set right all the injustices committed against our people. There can be no trust where justice is not an option. We cannot simply forget the price of lives and blood we have paid simply to exist as Moros in a land where we are seen as inconvenience and a problem.

We seek true autonomy not the sham we are being offered now with a mangled and watered-down ghost of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which President Duterte initially did not want to certify as urgent, after all, the House and Senate versions of this law that was passed at the 11th hour on third and final reading were so disparate.

Duterte’s last-minute turnaround to certify the BBL as an urgent measure does not inspire our trust. Not especially when his BBL sweeps aside our claims for justice for the victims of the Marawi Siege and Martial Law, the recent massacre of the nine MILF combatants and myriad other human rights violations resulting from the continuing operations of the United States-led “war on terror” within Bangsamoro territory. Refer to the Bangsamoro narrative and it is there, plain as day, just how much betrayal of trust we have had to bear.  We in Suara Bangsamoro are wary that this kind of BBL just glossed over the justice we Moros deserve.

The oppression of the people of the Bangsamoro continues and this badly-done BBL is proof positive of that. Not recognizing the right to self-determination and to decide on our fate within Bangsamoro territory shows just how little trust and faith the government has in us.

The BBL version passed by Congress is not going to answer the Moro problem. This milquetoast that they’re passing off as BBL leaves the Bangsamoro with no control over the resources of the area they define as our autonomous area. Just like in the ARMM, this BBL appoints the new Bangsamoro political entity to facilitate the wholesale selling of our territories and natural resources to foreign corporations under the guise of bringing growth and development to Bangsamoro areas.

For there to be peace, there must be justice. There must be goodwill, and the trust that grows from that. You ask us to lay down our arms and work with you. Then you must do the same with us. Any less than a BBL that grants us justice and the autonomy to determine our path within this nation is the insult added to the many injuries we have already had to bear.

It is painfully familiar how previous governments resorted to coaxing the other negotiating side to give in to peace agreements that render their organization powerless and forces them to completely abandon their struggle.  Worse, we have witnessed government uses such as the final peace agreement to reduce the struggle of the Moro people to the one-sided agreement alone,  tainting the legitimacy of the  continuing search for genuine autonomy and  struggle for right to self-determination as mere acts of terrorism.

We stand with the decision of the Makabayan Bloc to truly scrutinize the contents of the present BBL and fight for the provisions they thought are compromising the fight of the Moro people for right to self-determination. Their vote of no at the Congress deliberation is a vote of no to the fake autonomy or the limited capacity of the future Bangsamoro government to protect resources and rights of the Bangsamoro.

We will forever continue to be vigilant in our fight for justice, right to self-determination and genuine autonomy for the Bangsamoro. We call on all peace-loving people especially our brother and sister Moros to continue working for self-determination, and fight for the justice we need and the peace that we work and pray for daily.

As the government continue to disregard Moro people’s struggle for right to self-determination, it is in the hands of Moro people to continue to fight for genuine right to self-determination.

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