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Peace and the Bangsamoro law

Jay Valleser .

EVERYONE wants, desires, hopes, longs for peace. The irony here is that there are those who are willing to go to war if only to achieve peace.  In Mindanao particularly, our Muslim community pins their hope for peace on a Mindanaon president, President Rodrigo Duterte.

The President made it clear even during the campaign period that one of his priorities is to pass a basic law for the creation of an autonomous Muslim region/s. This is why he works almost to the point of obsession and exhaustion for the said legislation to be passed and approved.

This corner, however, is not convinced this legislation is the magic wand that will do wonders. Let us accept it that not all of those who profess devotion to Mindanao peace and those who tirelessly work for the drafting, lobby and approval of the BBL or Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) have honest intentions.

Listen to them speak. Once you listen good, it is easy to read between the lines on what motivated them to work for the Bangsamoro law. In the field of diplomacy and I guess, in politics too, one must listen to what are being said. However, on sensitive issues like the Bangsamoro law, it pays to listen more closely on what are left unsaid.

I remember the late lawyer Fred Gapuz whose brilliance in legal practice as well as in the field of political “operation” once blurted out during a meeting of political leaders, “ do not believe a politician who claims to have none of so-called vested and selfish interest. Every politician always has one; expressed or not.”

He continued and bluntly said, “Presumption of innocence does not include politicians.” Of course, this was followed by some qualificatory statements as to why and what are the circumstances. In other words, if one listens to government propagandists, one must be wary and smart enough to differentiate what are being said seriously, sincerely as well as those being said simply just to sound right.

I am one of those who are watching closely on how the Bangsamoro law will travel through the icy waters of our society. This does not mean that if it easily passes the House of Representatives, it will be easily accepted too by our people.

As a Mindanaoan, I have two expectations: one) the BBL issue will be appreciated differently by people of Luzon and the Visayas  on one hand and those in Mindanao on the other; two) this will not bring lasting peace to Mindanao.

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