Press Release
May 18, 2015

Statement of Sen. Alan Cayetano on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law

We all want a just, inclusive lasting peace in Mindanao.

But the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as framed mainly points to giving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front more power and access to billions, all without any clear and definite accountability to our national government.

We are for one nation, one people, one Philippines. If we pass the BBL in its present form, we will be sending the wrong message: that we will always negotiate with those who take arms against the government, and government will grant anything to earn the promised "peace."

Adopting the BBL today will, in fact, further weaken our resolve to achieve a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

Further, we don't really need a BBL to achieve these. We can already take up concrete measures that would address the discontent, stimulate progress and unity in Mindanao.

Instead of continuously debating the contentious and constitutional issues found in the BBL any further, let us instead commit the funds intended for the establishment of the BBL to the approved Mindanao Development Plan. It is the delayed implementation of the plan by our government that helps justify the armed conflicts in Mindanao.

Let us learn from the lessons of ARMM. We may have silenced the MNLF momentarily but the peace did not hold. The MILF never stopped its terroristic activities. And even before the BBL can be passed, the BIFF, JIM and private armed groups have already indicated they do not support the BBL led by MILF. So this early, we already know there can be no just and lasting peace in Mindanao even if we pass BBL. The only inevitable change that can be achieved by a BBL is a more powerful and dangerous MILF.

I, therefore, call on Congress to be extremely cautious even in passing an amended BBL. Let us recall the statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines:

"Peace will never come out because of a piece of paper. It might even be complicated...Even if there is a written law, if it will not bring real and lasting peace."

If we have to pass a new law, it must not be about one group but about a just, inclusive lasting peace in Mindanao.

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