DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 April) — AMEND ARMM LAW — I read similar positions of two (2) eminent persons who are proposing that in lieu of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the more expedient way forward, while the BBL is getting stuck in both Houses of Congress is to return back to the law of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (R.A. 9054) which they argued has no constitutional infirmities but enhancing it with applicable provisions of the BBL. This was proposed by former MNLF rebel fighter-commander JERRY SALAPUDDIN who returned to the folds of the law during martial law days and eventually became Congressman of Basilan province. Former Executive Secretary EDUARDO ERMITA, by the way, told me once how he went to the “war zone” while he was AFP army general to fetch JERRY from his Basilan hideout. I remember JERRY became Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives at one time.
JUSTICE’S VIEW — The other similar view came from former Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals MARIO GUARINA III who wrote a paper about this saying that he studied and compared the ARMM law and the proposed BBL and concluded that amending the ARMM law is more conducive to national unity and can achieve equally meaningful changes in Muslim autonomy.
I have in my files both well-written views if anyone of you is interested. I can send it via [email protected]
“PIECE BY PIECE”— Another practical view being proposed is not to dream of a united Bangsamoro, taking into account the realities that there are tribal, ethnic, historical, geographic factors at play. Thus we face disparate groups like our proverbial alphabet soup: MNLF, MILF, BIFF, ASG, etc. Maybe, we can look for other alternatives. Some proponents are asking: Why not pursue peace “piece by piece“? Remember, we gave it our best shot with the MNLF, well and good. But there are still unresolved implementation issues up to now. However, most of the MNLF elements have already significantly transitioned to peaceful lives. Why should we not give another shot with the MILF which has shown over the years its determination and willingness to find some peaceful settlement?
ONE ‘ENEMY’ LESS — Let me stress this again: except for Mamasapano, the peace protocols with the MILF worked. I saw this myself during my watch while negotiating with them early on. Although there are indeed no perfect peace agreements, the deal with the MILF will mean winning another ally on the ground to our side. In fact, even if there will be more breakaway groups that will fall by the wayside as mainstream MILF partners with government, it will result obviously to lesser “enemies” to deal with. Then government can move on and deal with those who still want to continue fighting government. Government, although admittedly bungling at times, is allowing all this from a high moral ground and from a position of strength. Of course, we have to learn lessons from Mamasapano no doubt.
And yes, all this for the good not only of the Bangsamoro but of the greater majority of Filipinos. And lest we forget, we have signed a deal with the MNLF. Let’s continue to nurture it. And not pretend as if there was no 1996 Final Peace Agreement that government also entered into almost 20 years ago.
“ISIS, THE STATE OF TERROR” —- That’s the title of a newly published book that I started reading a few days ago co-authored by JESSICA STERN and J.M. BERGER both leading American terrorism experts. A good friend, PAUL DOMINGUEZ just bought it from a bookstore while in Japan and before he left for an extended US trip, he said I’d rather read it first.
The close to 400-page book evidently draws from intelligence sources, researches with ears close to the ground tracing the “genesis, evolution and implications of today’s most barbaric jihadist army, Islamic state“. It also presents ways on how the world can deal and fight it.
At the outset, the authors immediately point out that ISIS has expertly used social media in promoting itself; hence beheadings, executions and massacres are vividly shown in cyberspace for all to see on real time. So don’t get shocked every time you see a film clip of a barbaric murder preceded by a “parade” of sorts, with some theatrics to boot. All these are intentional. And tragically, the more gory and barbaric the portrayals are, the more ISIS is able to attract volunteers to help “fight a cause” as shown by new recruits coming from all over the globe.
I will write more about this when I’m done reading. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Atty. Dureza’s piece is from his syndicated column, Advocacy MindaNOW).