Friday, February 27, 2015


We all desire that the provisions of BBL express fairness and equity. For this reason, we hope that the BBL will ensure equal opportunity for integral human development for all the peoples in the Bangsamoro. We desire a BBL that will respect various cultures, religious beliefs, and traditions. We wish to be assured that the BBL will provide equal access to educational, economic, political beliefs and resources.” (Par. 12)

There is a big difference between but to merely dream and to truly nurture hope, between to but simply wish and sincerely yearn for – such is the over-all spirit and optimism of the CBCP on the BBL once duly affirmed by the Legislative Department, confirmed by the Judicial Department and accordingly implemented by the Executive Department. Reason: Such a Basic Law when proven as based on truth will eventually bring about justice which in turn will ultimately give all those concerned the blessing of peace and the promotion of development.

There is nothing like objective reality plus good will to make BBL the tenable promise of social harmony and economic progress in favor of the people of Mindanao as a whole – with the Luzon and Visayas also as pursuant beneficiaries thereof. If the supposedly Land of Promise instead remains the place of force and fear, the temptation to human strife and deadly moves even, then such would contribute to the loss of the Country as a whole. It is well understandable then that the CBCP would earnestly want and fervently pray for the success of the BBL.

So it is then that the CBCP – among other things – expressed its honest and sincere desire for the realization of the following:

1. That the BBL contains provisions that proffer fairness and equity among the people within its territorial coverage. Otherwise, the Law would simply be another legislation of futility.

2. That the BBL provides equal development opportunity for all the people in Bangsamoro. Otherwise, it would not stop but even enhance their discontent and disunity.

3. That the BBL shows respect towards various cultural, religious and traditional values of the people covered by the Law. Otherwise, human conflicts would not only continue but escalate even.

Needless to say, few are those if any, who who want a BBL that would forward deceit instead of truth, that would promote inequity rather than justice, that would instigate unrest rather than disseminate peace. Woe to such individuals. They would have a lot to answer for not only before all those concerned with and desirous of progress not misery, longing for peace not war, but also before God if they recognize Any, and before their conscience if they have any.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


“Many are disturbed that there is a lot of misinformation and misinterpretation with regards to certain provisions of BBL, as for instance, the provision in land.  Presently, attempts to grab land or drive away their lawful owners by force of arms and even by murder, under the pretext of ancestral domain, are creating fear and tension among certain communities in the Bangsamoro.  There is the reported rise of shadowy civilian militias for self-protection…”(Par. 10)

It is common knowledge that while Mindanao is endowed with the beauty of nature, the blessing of a clean environment plus the good fortune of rich natural resources, all these attributions however have been long since undermined by social liabilities therein of long standing as basically caused by long existing regional harmony and conflict.  And the ultimate victims whereof are none other than the people of Mindanao themselves.

This is why in  the last analysis, the BBL is perceived and intended to be the fundamental resolution to such disunity.  Numerous meetings have been held abroad and locally. Different individuals with their rightful public offices and proper personal credentials have been involved.  Much effort as well as much money have been spent for its formulation.  So is it too that more meetings and discussions, more hearings and debates are being held for its analysis and evaluation – specially so with the advent of the now well-known and much detested infamous Mamasapano Massacre.

But then, even before the said murderous event took place, the CBCP – with good will towards all and malice towards none – already noticed and noted in particular the three following existing realities that undermine the much desired passage of the BBL for unity and  peace in Mindanao:

1.  The provisions on land:  Land is wealth, assurance and promise to the natives of a place in particular who are disturbed by certain BBL provisions that cause both misinformation  and misinterpretation.

2.  The pretext of ancestral domain:  Attempts to grab lands, to do away with their lawful owners under title and claim of ancestral domain, unfortunately come about with the BBL understanding.

3.  The rise of shadowy civilian militias:  There are now  this and that group of individuals who are interestingly both civilians and militias intended for the self-protection of the fearful communities concerned.

All the above already now  existing realities in Mindanao are certainly dissonant with a central objective of the BBL for the reign of harmony and peace in the region.  And all these have to be diligently considered by the authors and promoters of the said Basic Law – lest this cause more problems than solutions, more disunity than harmony among the people concerned.  And there is nothing like goodwill to bring about truth, unity and harmony.  This is an over-all lesson of history.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Our first stance is to listen and discern. We will specially listen to those who are directly affected by the BBL, those living in the Bangsamoro, the Muslim majority and non-Muslim minorities. We will listen to those who support the BBL and those who oppose it. We will listen to those who believe that there has been a lack of consultation. Further, we will listen to those outside the proposed Bangsamoro territory – Muslims, Christians, Indigenous Peoples, peoples of other religious persuasions.” (Par. 1)

To listen and discern in the light of faith, to speak and to act with the urging of hope, to wait and to bear with the strength of love, this is the standard stance of the Church in general and the CBCP in particular specially in conjunction with big and sensitive issues with human dimensions and social implications. Such is precisely the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is presently still undergoing ardent and urgent scrutiny as urged by the “Mamasapano Massacre”.

It is good to take note of the phenomenon that as the Catholic Church as such is universal in constituency and concern, the CBCP cannot but know and feel not only the blessings but also the problems, not merely joys but also the lamentations of the people of the Philippines as a whole – those in Luzon, the Visayas, and in Mindanao – all of whom are human beings with human dignity and human rights, human needs and human demands, irrespective of their different beliefs, customs and traditions and all of whom are either “Muslims, Christians, Indigenous Peoples, peoples of other religious persuasions”.

In the above-quoted paragraph, it is not hard to notice three general groupings of people specifically cited as far as the BBL is concerned:

1. Those who support and those who oppose it.

2. Those who claim that there has been sufficient or lack of consultation.

3. Those who are within and those outside the Bangsamoro territory.

The mere reality and presence of such three-fold dividing factors among those concerned with the BBL, in effect already forward the real and fundamental truth that the proposed Basic Law separates not unites, alienates not harmonizes people. And this living fact by itself sadly undermines instead of promoting national unity among the People of the Philippines.

And supposing that the said Law initiated and promoted by the Executive Department were subsequently approved in substance by the Legislative Department and eventually adjudged altogether constitutional by the Judicial Department, questions: Would there be peace specially in Mindanao? Would there be socio-economic development specially in Mindanao? Would the Filipinos be but one people with one vision under one aspiration?

Friday, February 20, 2015


So there have been and there are still even more and louder calls for someone to resign from the highest public office in the land. It can be rightfully said that all the reasons for or causes of the said appeals can be summed up into one over-all reality: Incompetence in national governance. It is certainly challenging to govern a democratic Country, to lead a free thinking and speaking People. It demands a lot of wisdom and skills, a big amount of vision and determination on the part of the one governing. It requires leadership skills not only from the national down to the local levels but also the other way around. And even OJT in governance has to end much earlier than the stipulated term of Office.

The present national leadership has competence in talking big and talking well – but incompetent in bringing but words to ground realities. It can even be said that the individual concerned came from a heroic father, a truly wealthy and famous clan plus its consequent aristocratic background. More. It cannot be said with objective truth that the same figure is a bad person, an evil individual, a crook or something the like. He grew up with a good family background and even went to a well-known school. But just the same, he remains incompetent to govern a Country, to lead a people towards social justice, towards peace and socio-economic development.

So it is that as time goes by, more and more people are poor and restless, disillusioned and dissatisfied – not to mention restless and angry. So it is that more and more rallies and demonstrations are prepared and held. And so it is that there are now increasing and louder calls for the same highest leader in government to please resign from Office, to please go and leave the people with the hope for a really promising today and a better tomorrow. They are but asking for the chance to have a competent national leadership, to face a realistic present and expect a promising future.

In the assumption that the personality concerned would freely leave office at the instance of none other than his Boss” without any gun in sight nor any bullet fired – then: He sets a great example of humility as urged by truth. He makes himself the object of admiration and emulation. He becomes not only a heroic but also a historical figure. But to insist in holding on to an office he could not fulfill, in accepting agenda he could not bring to facts, in hanging on to the privileges and benefits he has enough of even without the demanding role he got himself into – this is not even logical, to say the least. Much less is it irrational.

To counter that the people loved and believed in him such that they precisely assigned him to the highest office in the land, to argue that he is trying to do his best in all honesty and sincerity, to say that he was but more than a year to finish his term of governance, the realistic answer is precisely that: He has been in office long enough, he has tried hard long enough, he has not done well long enough. Hence: Enough is enough! You have done your best. Let others do the rest!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Mass slaughter, carnage, butchery or anything the like when human lives are considered cheap, if not worthless or evil even and therefore done away with ease and comfort – this is Massacre” in substance, in its common understanding. No. It is not just a matter of one, two or three human lives that are deliberately and wantonly terminated or readily wasted. It is the perfect example of the inhumanity of man to man – some individuals nonchalantly killing and eliminating others as a matter of course. Suicide – someone taking his own life – is harder to do than massacre that precisely does away with the lives of others while mass murderers avidly keep theirs. This makes massacre the core and summit of inhumanity. And when life itself is done away with, human dignity is a big inanity, human rights are but downright vanity.

Sad to say but truth to remember, the present administration is now famous or infamous for no less than three downright massacres. If some more are in the making, few – if any – really know, actually say.

There is the Luneta Massacre to start with. It revealed the incompetence of uniformed public officials. It manifested the insensitivity of their Chief-in-Command. And so it angered the co-nationals of those thus massacred.

There is the Atimonan Massacre next. It demonstrated how law enforcers can readily violate the law not only by engaging in unlawful activities but also in actually killing one another. Their Chief-in-Command was nowhere.

And there is the Mamasapano Massacre lately. Honorable and courageous PNP-SAF constituents were gunned down supposedly by the would-be-allies of the government at the initiative precisely of the same Chief-in-Command.

This is saying nothing about the infamous Mendiola Massacre where some 22 individuals were gunned down to uphold and protect an Hacienda when Land Reform was supposedly the core of then incumbent government.

So it is that there is not only progressive poverty in the Country, children not going to school, more citizens leaving for work abroad, more criminals freely roaming the street, more women selling themselves.

So it is that more and more people are digging garbage cans, begging in the streets, sleeping at the sidewalks. In the same way, more and more families are getting not only worried but in fact are also desperate and angry.

And so it is that demonstrations against the Malacañang Chief Occupant are becoming more in number and anger, more in bitterness and defiance. When will they stop, who can make them stand still, no one really knows.

The ground reality of the said progressively common dismay and consequent unrest is gradually but definitely turning into the clamor for someone to step down, to go away – please!