The Bangsamoro and Mindanao’s economy

bangsamoro substate“For development to be truly genuine and appreciated, it must be anchored on true moral values, people-focused or centered, and is caring for the environment.”

luwaran editorialThe call of President Benigno Aquino III to business groups to help transform Mindanao economically is not only timely but is very laudable. It comes in the heel of the submission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress, which they are expected to pass without much delay. The President should be heeded and supported for this noble intention.

Of course, the future Bangsamoro political entity (BPE) was not directly mentioned in his speech, as appearing in the article published by one of the leading metropolitan dailies, but we are sure that it is surely included in his mind and agenda.  The BPE is in the heart of Mindanao, and a highly depressed area at that, which therefore deserves the highest priority in this impending business activity boom in this region.

Moreover, development is one of the rationales of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation, especially after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and the BBL.

But for development to be truly genuine and appreciated must anchor on true moral values, people-focused or centered, and is caring for the environment.

In no way, it should become development aggression, which results in massive displacement of people, especially members of the marginalized sectors of society, including the indigenous peoples.

This is the reason why the MILF is not rushing up things for the entry of mining companies even during the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

The priority is to develop whatever potentials already there in the BJE, say the vast rich agricultural lands and the fishing grounds that abound with fishes and marine products.

Neither are we imagining constructing high rise buildings or putting up instant industrialized zones. This level of development will come at the right moment, which happens after people are truly empowered and capacitated.

However, right now, there is a creeping threat to the landholdings of ordinary people.

With the lure and advent of the plantation economy, their lands, including those acquired through the operation of the scheme called “voluntary offer to sell” (VOS) under the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), are rapidly disappearing.

Many moneyed and powerful people are buying off these small landholdings usually at an exuberant price and put there either African oil, banana, pineapple, or rubber plantations.

With this difficulty seemingly looming in the air and with no succor right in sight, the curse of the bloody encounters over the friars’ lands centuries ago or the haciendas in Luzon and the Visayas will be reenacted in the BJE.


The necessary consequence is that in the rumble in the jungle, the mightiest and the strongest will always triumph. EDITORIAL/

aquino submist bblPresident Benigno S. Aquino lll witnesses the handover of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law by Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman Mohagher Iqbal and Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles to Speaker of the House Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon during the turnover ceremony at Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace, September 10, 2014. Photo by Rey Baniquet/NIB/Malacañang Photo Bureau

President Aquino submits Bangsamoro law to Congress


 The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said peace is dawning in Mindanao as President Benigno Aquino on September 10 submitted to Congress leaders the proposed law creating a new autonomous government in Mindanao.

 This is the main antidote to radicalization in Mindanao, said MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.

Iqbal was among those present when Aquino handed over the proposed bill on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. in a ceremony held in Malacanang.

The Bangsamoro bill is the legal framework for the final peace agreement signed by the government and MILF in March this year after 17 years of negotiations aiming to end four decades of war in Mindanao.

Iqbal said he is confident the creation of a new autonomous government would be enough to curtail radicalization in Mindanao.

Under the BBL, a new  Bangsamoro juridical entity would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

I assure you that the Bangsamoro Basic Law was crafted to be fair, just, and acceptable to all, whether they are Moros, Lumads, or Christians, Aquino said at the ceremony attended by about 200 guests.

Aquino said he was  optimistic the Bangsamoro would be created within his term.

Iqbal said he is confident the creation of a new autonomous government would be enough to curtail radicalization in Mindanao.

The submission of the BBL comes amid reports that the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been recruiting Mindanao Muslims for training in the Middle East.

ISIS has thrown large parts of Iraq and Syria into violent chaos by instigating a religious was in a bid to establish a separate  Islamic caliphate in the two countries.

Authorities feared that the young Mindanao Muslim recruits would end up as jihadists to return to Mindanao to sow violence in part due to frustration over the delayed approval of the BBL.  

     The next stage for BBL would be its deliberation in Congress, which has created an ad hoc committee to fast-track its approval.

Belmonte and Drilon earlier said they aim for the passage of the BBL by March 2015.



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