POSTSCRIPT / May 24, 2015 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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Read BBL, and weep over the conspiracy!

WE OWE it to our country to at least examine the rehashed version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (HB 4994) that House mercenaries approved last Wednesday after a very productive weekend haggling with President Noynoy Aquino.

Read the approved BBL draft – and weep! Just fight the urge to round up your friends to take up arms to stop this abominable Sellout of the Century.

If you want an electronic copy of the 88-page House bill showing the contentious details that were removed but bought back by Malacañang, please email me.

Seeing the cheering mob of Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez approve the draft by a vote of 50-17-1, I was so incensed as to post on Twitter: “Kayong anak /asawa ng congressman /woman, pag-uwi niya tanungin kung magkanong kinita niya sa BBL. Saka ninyo sampalin!”

We are still verifying reports that each consenting congressman was promised a P50-million slab of pork to be chopped off the Bottom-Up Budget of the DILG and given a take-home pabaon of P1 million cash.

Why is Aquino insisting on this sellout?

IT IS NOT just the numerous unconstitutional sections that make one’s blood boil. Ask for your BBL copy and, for sampling, also read carefully the provisions on:

Plebiscite – The Constitution says in Section 18, Article X, that the plebiscite will be held in the Bangsamoro area. The BBL sets it within the first 120 days after the new law takes effect. The usual international monitoring team, a company union led by Malaysia, will observe the voting, after which Malacañang and its partner the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will announce the foregone conclusion. The creeping plebiscite under the BBL will go beyond the present ARMM area to include Palawan, even if it had already opted out in the last plebiscite creating the autonomous region. Filipinos who love their country must insist on the basic point that while conducting a LOCAL PLEBISCITE on a burning NATIONAL ISSUE may be inadvertently constitutional, it is certainly neither logical nor just. It is wrong! The whole nation must vote.

Windfall – Set apart from other local governments, the Bangsamoro will get a windfall of some P75 billion in the first year, P35 billion of which will be an outright block grant without their having to ask for or justify it. Above other LGUs, the Bangsamoro will get the lion’s share (four percent) in internal revenue allotments, not to mention some P10 billion from special development funds, and P12 billion from national agencies’ awards to regional departments.

Wealth Sharing — The Bangsamoro will get most-favored sharing rates: 75-percent of taxes and charges other than tariff and custom duties collected in its area, 75 percent from metallic minerals, 100 percent from non-metallic minerals (sand, gravel and quarry resources), and 50 percent for income from energy fuels such as petroleum, natural gas and uranium. To maximize its earnings, the contiguous seas around Bangsamoro – an emerging new state – are to be declared as its territorial waters. The Sulu sultan and his followers, btw, are fuming over a creeping move to rename the Sulu Sea to Bangsamoro Sea. Isagad na po ninyo! Change the name of Lanao Lake to Murad or Iqbal or Najib Lake.

Sabah Going, Gone – The BBL mentions only Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi as the component provinces of the Southwestern Mindanao portion of the Bangsamoro (the other half being Central Mindanao) and totally ignores North Borneo (Sabah) which is an integral part of the Sulu sultanate. By having the BBL (that omits Sabah) passed by the Congress, signed by President Aquino, ratified in a plebiscite and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, the Philippine government could be deemed to have officially abandoned its interests and claim on Sabah. This is the same implied dropping of the claim by its omission in Article I defining the national territory in the 1987 Cory Aquino Constitution. Is there a secret Aquino deal with Malaysia?

Dual Asymmetrical Setup  – With the BBL, the country will have two coexisting governments: a presidential national government and a parliamentary regional Bangsamoro. The national government will be headed by the President who is popularly elected and the Bangsamoro by a Chief Minister, the only such political animal in the country, not elected directly by the people but by his allies in the newfangled Parliament. Then the Supreme Court will get a super headache reconciling the regular judicial setup and the expanded Shari’ah court system. Even now there is the problem of shopping for lawyers and magistrates well-versed in Shari’ah. Despite the principle of separation of Church and State, the BBL declares, perhaps in explanation, that Shari’ah is based partly on the Koran of Islam. Without meaning to question the value of madaris in Moro areas, we would like to see clear and enforceable safeguards that children taught in such schools are guided to developing loyalty and allegiance to the Republic and not to a foreign politico-religious system.

New Islamic State – The MILF, coached by its Malaysian patrons, has been able to lead Malacañang step by step into recognizing the revolutionary group as a belligerent state, sitting across the negotiating table as a co-equal of government. If the BBL is approved, the Bangsamoro will be invested with the necessary attributes of a new emerged state: (1) a defined territory, (2) resident population, (3) functioning government, and (4) a capacity to gain recognition in the community of nations. The next step in its long journey is secession as a separate state under the principle of self-determination – with an option to join the neighboring Malaysian federation.

The saving grace is that the Bangsamoro might turn out to be better managed than the corrupt and inept national government. In which case, how can non-Moros migrate to Bangsamoro? We’ll ask.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 24, 2015)

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