The Duterte BBL cannot ultimately guarantee the complete recognition of the Bangsamoro’s genuine right to self-determination

Ka Joaquin Jacinto
Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao
Press statement | 30 May 2018

Duterte’s supermajority in both the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives passed a version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will be the basis for the establishment of the the Autonomous Region of the Bangsamoro (ARB) replacing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

This approved version of the BBL will most definitely get center stage treatment in Duterte’s brag on his State of the Nation Address come July. It will henceforth be known as Duterte’s BBL, dedicated to the interests of the reactionary government, the ruling classes of big bourgeois compradors, landlords and their US imperialist master, and not, in the least, of the Moro masses of peasants, workers and professionals.

But, despite the fanfare given to the accelerated passage of the bill, the NDFP- Mindanao states its position on the BBL, to wit:

Will the Duterte BBL guarantee genuine autonomy for the Bangsamoro? No. What has been passed and approved by Duterte’s supermajority in congress is obviously an extremely watered-down version of the original MILF-penned version. Not that the original version is the 100% guarantee to genuine autonomy, but given that the Duterte BBL has already been meticulously tinkered and deconstructed by businessmen with vested interests in Moro lands and by anti-Moro pundits in the congress to perfectly fit the Philippine constitution and other laws, genuine autonomy will only be farthest from the truth. The so-called ARB will only be another version of the ARMM or the SPCPD, with only a slight change in leadership but with more restricitive policies and regulations that will not foster genuine autonomy the Moro people have longed for.

Will the congress-approved BBL recognize and respect the right to self-determination of the Moro people? No. The national reactionary government, now led by Duterte, will never relinquish complete authority (over) to the Moro people in terms of land, mineral and other resources, (lest Duterte’s imperialist masters want to lose a significant source of profit, such as the Ligusan Marsh or the Cotabato basin). At best, the BBL is only a tokenistic form of power-sharing; meant to pacify the Bangsamoro and its armed resistance. The presence/camps of the fascist AFP units (6th ID) will not be disbanded from Moro lands; the BBL was a ploy to facilitate the diasarmament and virtual surrender of the MILF-BIAF, emaciating their armed power. In the instance the Bangsamoro will defy/resist state repression (as the Bangsamoro have done so for decades in the past), they will be quelled by the fascist forces of the state. Their right to secede from a repressive national government will never be recognized.

Will it spell the end of the armed conflict between the Moro people and the forces of the reactionary government (AFP, PNP, etc.), and gurantee just and lasting peace for the Bangsamoro and the rest of the people in Mindanao? No. As long as the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination and their basic freedoms are not genuinely recognized, the armed conflict will not end. As long as Bangsamoro peasantry do not freely own their ancestral lands and the Bangsamoro workers continue to be subjected to the harshest working conditions, the armed conflict will not end. As long as imperialist mining companies and plantations continue to grab land from the Bangsamoro and no genuine development is afforded for them, the armed conflict will not end. Not only will the BBL not gurantee an end to the armed conflict, but it will in fact usher in a new and more intense armed conflict between the Moro people and the reactionary government, the ruling classes and US imperialism. The BBL rides on the wings of the US-Duterte regime’s anti-terror campaign, which is basically aimed at the Moro armed resistance movements that continue to fight for their right to self-determination. The US Armed Forces will soon directly intervene as part of US imperialism’s Operation Pacific Eagle and its Asia Pivot strategy. When BBL renegs on its promise, the Bangsamoro will surely rise to claim what has long been deprived of them.

The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the Bangsamoro to unite and, despite the passage of the BBL, continue with the fight, whether armed or non-armed, for the Bangsamoro’s genuine right to self-datermination.###