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More trouble ahead

By Erik Espina

“Passing a law (BBL) will not solve the problem. They have to be subjugated!” Advice from a respected/veteran former senator, spoken in confidence.

The recent Independence Day celebration prompts confronting the very thesis of a manufactured Bangsamoro identity and government, contrasted to a traceable narrative of a people who must observe “national unity” as an elevated and preponderant value in maintaining the sinews of our pioneering republican heritage in Asia, including territory. What is our identity as Filipinos worth? Our sense of community as a people, a nation, over and beyond, linguistic variances? Our seminal tribal and socio-cultural cleavages were the very fodder many colonials exploited. And we have not learned from this?

If we follow this fractious interpretation of history creating a Bangsamoro homeland, to include indigenous peoples skirted from the ideology, they are “Native/Original Filipinos,” then as a sovereign and united people we are riding a slippery slope unraveling national identity by religion and origin (Filipinos, Moros and Lumads), balkanizing our territory, and deconstructing the Philippine state via sub-states and ancestral/customary lands.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Miguel Zubiri was quoted announcing 150 amendments for the proposed BBL in the Upper House. The House approved version also made substantive amendments e.g. Entire Section 4 Delimitation of the Bangsamoro, deleting 25 years of periodic plebiscite every five years versus creeping expansion etc. The MILF however issued early a warning against watering down the BBL as filament for continued war. Reality is, the MNLF of Nur Misuari (OIC recognized) is not on board, sea bound Tausugs, Samals, Badjaos, Royal Houses, IPs and many Muslim politicians are resistant to BBL. Not discounting majority of a Non-Muslim population – Ilongos, Ilocanos, Cebuanos in Southern/Northern Cotabato etc. arming themselves against an MILF dominated Bangsamoro. More trouble ahead!