I GAVE UP writing about the BBL, if anyone noticed, when the House and the Senate began debating it in their respective committees. I didn’t want to preempt Congress, and it seemed a waste of energy to speculate, especially in this heat. Perhaps I suffered from a “wanton excess of optimism,” but having been fed

Not Exempt

If the executive and the government peace panel will not attend to these matters now causing much social anxiety, it is up to us poor Juans to sound the tocsin and keep it ringing. This is an issue that must be followed vigilantly, lest we lose any of our constitutional guarantees and privileges (not to mention our territory) by default.

Elusive Peace

The “peace process” includes this very phase we are in right now and involves every Filipino, not just those from Mindanao. The negative reactions are part of it; this process did not end – should not end – with the drafting of the BBL and the current inflexible campaign for its acceptance. Does the OPAPP truly ask us to buy peace in the Bangsamoro at the price of discord in the rest of the country? Can it in conscience dismiss the fulminating tensions brought about by the BBL as mere “anti-peace” sentiments? This dangerously reduces the issue and pits Filipino against Filipino in a morass of mindless, impassioned name-calling: “anti-Muslim,” “terrorist,” “warmonger,” “enemy of peace.” This is hardly consensus-building.

The Peace Process: Subterfuge?

What exactly did the government panel promise the MILF during the four-year long peace talks that makes Aquino and company so nervous now? It appears they may have committed more than the public understands. And I have a bad feeling that whatever those commitments were, they had a large part to play in the decisions made by the Commander-in-Chief on that bloody day. They may also be what color the government negotiators’ statements from then to now.


The most invidious of all the inconsistencies, however, is the allegation that those who oppose the BBL oppose peace. It is a subtle and malicious assertion that does not satisfy even basic logic. I desire peace in this land, yet I am convinced that the BBL as it stands is not an instrument of harmony but of further division. Unless it is rewritten to encompass all affected groups in the region; unless the plural identities that exist there and not just the Bangsamoro are equitably delineated, upheld, and protected; unless there is a firm expression of fealty and union with the Republic of the Philippines; unless all questions of conformity with the Philippine Constitution are satisfied, I will continue to question the BBL in the name of peace.