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BOL concerns

Nora Soriño . 

ILIGAN City — The Bangsamoro Organic Law has come a long way. And along the way, it had met several snags. The latest of which was during the President’s Sona.

Jane Bernardo, and me had a good laugh on it on the sidelines of a forum on BOL last December. Bernardo is President of Civil Society Organization – Forum for Peace (CSO-FP), of which Jun Enriquez is its managing director.

The signing of it by President DU30 which was supposed to give a drama effect during that Sona was postponed. It had to give way to another drama concerning a lady in red who became a Speaker as she and her “friends” ousted another Speaker. Bernardo even gestured with her ten fingers on her mouth as she recalled GMA’s actions on that Sona.

That was only a very minor snag on the fate of the BOL though. Because it was  signed by the President days later.

It had morphed then from the MOA – AD to BBL and then to the present BOL. That was during the Presidencies of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and P-Noy. GMA was very unpopular then what with her “Hello Garci” and “I am sorry”  tags. It did not help that the MOA-AD was shrouded in secrecy with only a one-sentence mention in one of her Sonas. And then presto, there was already that supposed peace agreement. That was short then for Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

Many sectors did not like it. And then there were chaos that came with it. Among them the “show of force” in several towns in Lanao Norte, by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Which took some effort on several parties led by the government to quiet them. And oh yes, let’s not forget earlier, in 2000 during the short-lived Erap presidency, his “all out war vs. the MILF” after that show of force in Kauswagan and other Lanao Norte towns. And the Army’s dismantiling of the MILF’s  its  Camp Abubakar.

I remember an episode too during that GMA presidency in which scores of people here in this city ran  for dear lives one evening  because the MILF were “out to get them.”

Then city mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz had  suddenly appeared on TV that there was really nothing to fear. It was a case of “nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Based on stories later from the streets, which were interspaced with laughter by the story tellers, it turned out that somebody had shouted: “Emay!” And those who heard them took it for “MI” (short for MILF) hence their reactions. Emay, the stories say had played with a toy gun in some barangay in the city and the gun produced a defeaning sound. Hence, the peoples’reactions after the shout of “MI.”

During PNoy’s time, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the forerunner of the present BOL was thought to go without any snag. PNoy was thought to be “good” at that time.

Until  Mamasapano encounter, or “misencounter” or whatever. Which included among the cast of characters, such “terrific” personality as tired, I mean suspended army official then, called Allan Purisima.

Then congressman here Vicente Belmonte Jr. reported some “sightings” of the MILF “camping” in some hinterland barangay like Rogongon, this city. Which left many people scared too. Though not as scared as that “running” during Cruz’s time.

Times have changed since then. People and the MILF have become “friendlier.” Maybe it has helped that there is now the BOL. After several peace talks. The “all out war” of Erap is now a memory that hopefully will not come again.

Dr. Marjiane Macasalong, the speaker in that forum about the BOL re-inforced that idea of “friendlier” times now. Army officials, he said had visited the MILf camp in Darapanan. Likewise, heavyweights of MILF have come over the Army’s main camp at Crame. He looked happy really with said development. Macasalong, to note is member of the MILF Implementing Panel

He then said that in the beginning, there were only a handful of them MILF who had initially met to pursue their cause. Now they had swelled to 30 or 40,000 thousand.

And there’s that scheduled plebiscite, Jan. 21 and Feb. 6.

Still there are some “unhappiness” or maybe lingering ‘’fears.’’ Or shall we say, doubts.

Like in Lanao Norte. Officials there are saying that people have to yield their firearms to the government. But the MILF do  not have to surrender theirs at this time. Thereby implying that during the plebiscite, there is an “unfair situation,’’ Which don’t need any explain. But the Dimaporos at Lanao Norte are for the approval of the BOL. Only that they don’t want some Lanao del Norte municipalities joining the  future Barmm. These municipalities who have petitioned said Barmm are Munai, Nunungan, Tangkal, Tagoloan, Baloi and Tangkal. Feb. 6 is its plebescite sked.

Some other Moro tribe are not happy too. Because the BOL “favors” only the MILF. A Sulu governor said so in another forum,

Macasalong though also admitted in one of his papers which this writer had searched, that there is the possibility of another group coming up. Much like that of the MILF coming after the Moro National Liberation Front had signed a peace agreement during FVR’s time.

Here’s hoping that such skeds would go on without untoward incidents, no running for dear lives like that “Emay!” episode. Anyway, the Army says they are ready as in 10,000 soldiers would see to it that everything really is in order.

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