“Self-determination is a democratic process and exercise defined and conducted by the people themselves, free from intervention, manipulation and dictate of the ruling elite based on their vested interests.”
By DEE AYROSO
The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) said that genuine self-determination for the Moro people is not possible under the Aquino administration, as they called the ongoing congressional deliberations for the proposed Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL), a “mockery.”
“What is happening in Congress is a mockery of self-determination. BBL will only provide false hopes and deception. It will not provide solutions to end the conflict in Mindanao,” said Windel Bolinget, CPA chairperson, in a statement.
The House of Representatives is in its fourth day of plenary session deliberations on its proposed BBL.
In the Senate, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairperson of the committee on local government, rejected the draft BBL in a privilege speech on June 3. Marcos said he is preparing another draft in its place.
Bolinget said the Moro and Lumad indigenous peoples should be the ones at the forefront of drafting the law, and not the “ruling elite.”
“Congress as a state institution is fundamentally the culprit in the oppression and exploitation of the Moro people and indigenous peoples thru laws, policies and legislations that systematically violate their right to self-determination, ancestral lands, resources and territories including the right to free, prior and informed consent,” Bolinget said.
“The genuine recognition of self-determination for the Moro people and indigenous peoples runs counter to the self-interest of the ruling elite and foreign capitalists,” Bolinget said.
“Hence, the recognition of the right to self-determination of the Moro, and also of the Igorots, under the Aquino regime, and essentially the same government that follows, is not possible,” he added.
Bolinget added that the proposed BBL should ensure self-governance and respect the right to land and resources especially in terms of ownership, use, development and control.
Progressive party-list lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc have criticized the draft approved by the House ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro for not addressing poverty and the socio-economic roots of the Moro rebellion.
“CPA believes that genuine change of the current oppressive system is a long-term requisite for genuine self-determination. And until such, the people’s struggle for just and lasting peace, self-determination and genuine development will inevitably continue,” Bolinget said.
Founded in 1984, four years after the death of Kalinga leader Macli-ing Dulag, the CPA has led calls for the right to ancestral lands and self-determination in the Cordillera region. The alliance has criticized the formation of the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) as “mainly in form,” with its regional structure, budget and governance. The group said CAR “lacks in principle and substance, and on the comprehensive unification of Cordillera peoples and the Filipino people on self-determination and regional autonomy.”
The BBL will be the governing law of the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the ARMM, and is supposed to contain the essential elements of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last year.
The proposed BBL was first drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), headed by Mohagher Iqbal, also the MILF peace panel chairperson. Iqbal said the proposed draft was “diluted” by the Office of the President, but later acceded to the Malacañang version, which was then submitted to Congress for approval.
The congressional hearings on the BBL was marred by anti-Moro sentiments in the aftermath of the death of 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) men in the tragic Mamasapano encounter in Maguindanao in January.