Forty eight days to go before May 18, the timeline unilaterally set by the government for the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to come up with new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). This timeline, while it is ideally sound, may not be too practical. This can only happen if the other side of inclusivity will work wonder for the BTC; if not, even the adoption of internal rules, committees assignment, and which draft to use as working draft may take some time.
As a principle, inclusivity is to be valued and pushed at all times. But as part of a process, its outcome depends on many factors especially on the coherence of the group, their commonalities of vision and dedication, and effectiveness of leadership. If the general interest rather than selfish, clan, tribal, prevail then this principle and as part of process is most desired.
What is good in this effort for inclusivity is that once it is overcome and the Bangsamoro people speak as one, the oft-repeated accusation that they are disunited will be dashed away. But if this will not happen, for various intervening reasons, then the old “myth” will stay and worse it will be reinforced. It can be used effectively to deny them a better deal.
By the way, it is not true to say that the Bangsamoro people are disunited. Yes, we cannot unite on many things, which are natural, but are these situations not also true to the majority populations? How do we explain the various coup attempts, the jailing, the political mudslinging, etc.? After all, is not democracy built on the sovereignty of people, who have divergent views and wants?
The truth of the matter is that the Bangsamoro people are weak, they lack power, mostly poor and uneducated. That is why Moros would generally prefer fighting in the firing line rather than engaging in the halls of Congress. At least, the firing line is level while in Congress, a Moro is like shouting in wilderness.
Weak people can be easily manipulated, because they have many weaknesses. They also have many needs and concerns; and for which reasons, the less principled in them would grab at the first opportunity at the expense of others.
But on the flipside, the weak are not lacking in people who are sincere, determined, and competent. In fact, many if not most of those who are willing to die for a cause emanate from the least fortunate in life. We have proved this in our more than decades of struggle in Mindanao.
Forty eight days to come up with a new BBL is not impossible to beat. But the key to do this is use the “agreed version” as presented to Congress as HR 4994 and concentrate on those they revised through surgical approach. Improve on them to address the concerns of the lawmakers.
Moreover, we have high regard for the current BTC, its leadership and members. We are sure they are equal to the real challenges and they will rise above them all with heads high.