COTABATO CITY – A local government chief executive of a Moro-populated town in Maguindanao believed that a successful creation of the new Bangsamoro political government in the central and southern areas of Mindanao may significantly simmer down calls for secessionism as well as deter the global invitation of a terror organization in the Middle East for more Muslim recruits.
Rajah Buayan Mayor Datu Zamzamin Lumenda Ampatuan, told the public hearing conducted by the Adhoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law on Thursday, that he was hoping for the Bangsamoro law to “finally end the Moro insurgency in Mindanao”.
“If the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be passed, this would be the last nail to once and for all fix the loose ends in the formation of the Republic of the Philippines as one nation with diverse cultures and divergent aspirations,” Ampatuan said.
Ampatuan said Moro secessionism is a serious problem in Mindanao that “weighs down the progress of this country.”“The problem on Moro secessionism is a heavy baggage that weighs down the progress of our nation.
There has been many attempts to finally put to rest the Moro insurgency problem, the recent one is the 1996 Jeddah accord,” Ampatuan said.The 13-man adhoc panel conducted a one-day public hearing and consultation at Cotabato City State Polytechnic College here on House Bill 4994 or the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Ampatuan said that the “global menace of Islamist extremism is one of the ugliest ideological monster of our time”.
“A Bangsamoro government within the jurisdiction of the Philippines is a potent antidote to a dismembered republic and the rise of ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] in Southeast Asia,” he said.
Ampatuan also raised the issue of disarmament for the armed followers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and asked the committee to consider his suggestion to integrate the MILF armed component, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force, into the government military.
He said that the BIAF may be assumed into the police auxiliary.He said the disarmament issue should be something to be “watched out because the national government might deal with a lot of mujahideens who have fought against the state’s security forces”.
“It bears the question of how does the government, the national and the Bangsamoro will disarm these mujahideens for this matter,” he asked.
Ampatuan said that only “genuine and listed members” of BIAF would be eligible for enlistment into the police auxiliary “as soon as the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority is established and operational”.
“We may call this as a conversion of the BIAF into the Bangsamoro Auxiliary Police Force or BAPF. All firearms now in the hands of the BIAF members should be declared by MILF and fully accounted,” he explained.
BIAF commanders may be given commensurate rank as commanders of BAFP and graded salaries will also be provided, he added.
“BAPF enlisted men and women should be provided with salaries including other non-monetary benefits. Their salaries will be a little bit higher than those given to CAFGUs (P 5,000),” said Ampatuan.
Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chair of the House defense and security committee, asked Ampatuan however, if he was “authorized to speak on behalf of the BIAF”.
Biazon said that Ampatuan may not necessarily reflect the views of the BIAF.
Ampatuan insisted that the Bangsamoro Basic Law “capsulizes and allows room for lavishing on the desire for a unique identity apart from our conventional appreciation of a Filipino identity”. (davaotoday.com)