February 26, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday blamed the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to the “opposition senators.”
In his speech during the 30th anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution at the People Power Monument in Quezon City, the President said it was regrettable that the BBL, which is expected to bring lasting peace to Mindanao, has not been passed by Congress before it adjourned early this month for the election campaign.
He said the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have worked hard to come up with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in the past years.
The FAB, signed by the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF on October 2012, led to the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in December 2012, which was tasked to draft the BBL.
The CAB, signed on March 2014, represents the final peace agreement between the GPH and the MILF.
As provided in the CAB, the BBL, once submitted to the government, would be certified by the President as an urgent bill for Congress to deliberate on, and passed as a law.
Once the BBL is ratified, the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be abolished and will be replaced with the envisioned Bangsamoro government supposedly “by 2016.”
The Bangsamoro autonomous political entity will be presided over by a ministerial form of government and not an Islamic state.
Aquino wants the BBL passed before he steps down from office in June to ensure its implementation.
“Nanghihinayang ako, dahil ang tanging batas na maghahatid ng katarungan at kapayapaan, sadya pa po talagang hinarang,” the President said in his speech.
“Di po ba, ang BBL naipit sa Senado sa kumite para sa lokal na gobyerno na pinamumunuan ni Senador (Bongbong) Marcos? Di ba nung pinakahuling araw ng sesyon, tuloy pa rin ang pag-interpellate ni Senador (Juan Ponce) Enrile? At di po ba, itong dalawang apelyido ding ito ang siyang nagtulak ng military solution para sa mga Moro noong panahon ng diktadurya?” he added.
The President also recalled the excesses committed by former president Ferdinand Marcos to Muslim Filipinos during martial law.
He said Marcos and his minions seized lands and tolerated those who committed abuses.
“Imbes na katarungan ang gawing tugon o gumawa ng batas para isaayos ang sitwasyon, Philippine Constabulary at Sandatahang Lakas ang itinulak na solusyon,” he noted.
Aquino pointed out that many of those who were abused during martial law years understand what Muslims in Mindanao have gone through.
“Kami mismong mag-anak, humarap sa matinding pang-aabuso ng nasa kapangyarihan,” he said.
Aquino added that martial law sowed discontent among the people, resulting in communist insurgency during those years.
From 60 individuals, he said the ranks of the New People’s Army (NPA) swelled to 25,000 after martial rule, threatening the country’s security.
He noted that Davao even became the urban laboratory of the NPA, the insurgents prepared to attack different cities in the country.
Aquino also criticized the younger Marcos for still refusing to acknowledge his family’s wrongdoings.
However, he noted that the Senator, who is now running for Vice President, should not be blamed for the human rights violations that happened in his father’s term.
“Pero ang masakit… ‘Yun pong kadugo ng diktador sa mahabang panahon ay puwede naman sabihing, ‘Nagkamali ang aking ama’ o ‘nagkamali kami. Bigyan n’yo kami ng pagkakataong iwasto ito’,” Aquino said.
“Pero isipin na lang po ninyo, ito ang tahasang naging pagsagot niya, ‘I am ready to say sorry if I knew what I have to be sorry for.’ Ngayon po, kung tama ang ilang mga survey na nagsasabing dumarami ang sumusuporta sa anak ng diktador na hindi kayang makita ang pagkakamali ng nakaraan, ang ibig po bang sabihin ay nalimot na natin ang sinabing, ‘Tama na, sobra na, palitan na’?” he added.
The President said the Senator must see the misdeeds of his family so he could not repeat the past.
The President urged Filipinos to guard the country’s freedom and democracy as some Marcos loyalists worked to erase the abuses and wrongdoings of the past.
He also appealed to the youths to study the history of the EDSA People Power Revolution to avoid a repeat of the faults committed during martial law.
It was the power of the people, who assembled in EDSA on February 25, 1986 that ended the 21-year dictatorial regime of Marcos.
The non-violent revolution was a result of the long oppressed freedom and the life threatening abuses executed by the Marcos government.
Every year, Filipinos commemorate the historical event to celebrate the country’s freedom from tyranny.
This year, at least 9,000 people joined the celebration at the People Power Monument, according to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
NCRPO chief Director Joel Pagdilao said about 1,000 cops were deployed in strategic areas particularly near the People Power Monument to secure those who joined the event.
Pagdilao also said the event was generally peaceful.