Carvajal: BBL myths

Orlando Carvajal

THERE are many myths about the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that are being circulated and discussed on print and in social media that cloud the minds of our nation and most especially our lawmakers. As part of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), I think it is unfair that these myths are being spread without those behind them consulting and asking us about this matter.

Let’s discuss them one by one:

MYTH: That the Bangsamoro will be an independent state separate from the Philippines, with its inhabitants having a citizenship different from the rest of the Filipinos. FACT: The Bangsamoro will not be an independent state. It will remain part of the territory of the Republic of the Philippines and its inhabitants will remain Filipino citizens. The BBL clearly provides (Art. III, Sec.1):“... The Bangsamoro territory shall remain a part of the Philippines.”

MYTH: That the creation of the Bangsamoro provided is NOT in the 1987 Constitution? FACT: Not True. The 1987 Constitution (Art. X, Sec. 15) provides for the creation of an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao. Moreover, the BBL provides, “The purpose of this Basic Law is to establish a political entity, provide for its basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for meaningful self-governance.” (BBL, Article I, Sec. 3)

MYTH: That the Bangsamoro identity is imposed on all inhabitants in the Bangsamoro areas irrespective of their socio-cultural and religious affinity and ancestry. FACT: Under the proposed BBL, people will have a right to choose to identify themselves as Bangsamoro. The proposed BBL provides that “those who, at the advent of the Spaniards, were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands including Palawan, and their descendants, whether of mixed or of full blood, shall have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro by ascription or self-ascription. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro” (Art. II, Sec. 1). This means that a person has to claim himself or herself as Bangsamoro. The proposed BBL also states that “the freedom of choice of other indigenous peoples shall be respected. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of identity, religion, and ethnicity.” (Art. II, Sec. 2)

MYTH: That the Bangsamoro will be an Islamic state where Shari’ah law will be applied to all of its inhabitants, Moros, Christians and Lumads alike. FACT: Not true. There is nowhere in the proposed BBL that an Islamic State is mentioned, even more so to be established.--from SunStar Davao