By Teng L. Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief
ISABELA CITY, Basilan — The passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and its eventual ratification will redound to a more peaceful Mindanao as this will address the root causes of the armed conflict, a top military commander here said.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command chief, noted the provisions of the BBL addresses the underlying factors that breed terrorism in southern Philippines.
“The enactment of the BBL will significantly help in lowering the threat of extremism and terrorism, particularly the Abu-Sayyaf,” Galvez, who is overseeing the government’s campaign against terrorist groups in the island.
He said the terror groups will now find it hard to recruit new members and carry out attacks, since the implementation of the BBL answers the “issues” of the Bangsamoro people.
His statement came as both houses of Congress are conducting a series of public hearings in Mindanao for the proposed bill.
Senators led by Juan Migual Zubiri, who chairs the subcommittee on the BBL, recently visited the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi and the city of Zamboanga for public consultations.
During the public hearing here, Zubiri emphasized the implementation of the BBL will help in the campaign against terrorism.
“They (security forces) are the ones who want peace more than all of us. It is them who also wish that the BBL be achieved,” he said.
Basilan Gov. Hadjima Hataman-Saliman said there is a need to fully address violent extremism in his province.
The island province is the birthplace of the notorious Abu-Sayyaf group in the early 90s. It led some of the country’s worst terrorist attacks, such as the bombing of a passenger ferryboat that left hundreds of people killed, kidnapping of foreign tourists, extortions, and beheadings.
The Senate is determined to pass the proposed law by March 22, according to Zubiri, to give a legal foundation for the creation of a new Bangsamoro region. (with reports from opapp)