|SULTAN of Lanao Lawyer Firdausi I. Y. Abbas|
Firdausi I.Y. Abbas, who holds a doctorate degree from University of the Philippines, and who is the Sultan of Lanao even urged various Moro groups to articulate their sentiments and their positions on the BBL.
“We of the Bangsa Moro Party (BMP) are in full agreement. Certainly these factors should be together with honesty and competence,” said Abbas.
According to Abbas, BBL is the product of the agreement between the MILF and the Executive Branch of the Philippines (PG).
Abbas said Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Marvic Leonen, who is the former chair of the Philippine panel negotiating with the MILF declared that for the proposed agreement to succeed, there must be sincerity and trust.
The MNLF earlier accused Aquino of insincerity after he accepted the MILF with the proposed BBL.
“The President betrayed the ongoing negotiations between the MNLF and the PG,” said Abbas adding that the negotiations were under the supports of the OIC.
“The past events have made the militant Moro groups skeptical of the government’s sincerity and trustworthiness,” he stressed.
In 1976, the Tripoli Agreement was signed between the MNLF and the PG according to Abbas.
He said even former President Ferdinand Marcos declared that there shall be real autonomy in the south for the Bangsa Moro and proceeded to unilaterally implement it.
He explained that sincerity and trustworthiness as well as honesty were questionable with the past presidents mentioned vis-a-vis their policies toward the Bangsa Moro.
“The Bangsa Moro (Moro People) must once more decide, this time whether or not to support the MILF and to trust the President (Benigno Aquino III),” said Abbas.
‘The MILF must also overcome the position of the Muslim Bar and the BMP that we cannot accept the proposed law as Moros and as Muslims, for this law distorts Bangsa Moro history and is pernicious to Islam,” Abbas pointed out.
“This law is no better than R.A. 9054 which is the enactment of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) which contains provisions which are culturally erroneous and blasphemous,” he said.
BBL is grossly erroneous
“The word Bangsamoro is erroneous because Bangsamoro Is not a single word but a phrase - Bangsa Moro which means Moro people.
Abbas said he opposes BBL as it is confusing principally Article VI, Sec.4.The Central Government shall ensure the protection of the rights of the Bangsamoro people residing outside the territory of the Bangsamoro.
“Are the Bangsamoro not Filipino citizens protected by the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution even outside of the Bangsamoro political entity?,” Abbas asked.
Abbas also questioned a fundamental definition of Bangsamoro people as spelled out in BBL’s Article II, Section 1.
The provision provides Bangsamoro people shall be those who at the time of conquest and colonization 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…”
“The question is conquest and colonization of who and of what? Of the people of the north called Indios by the Spaniards? Of Luzon and the Visayas? But this has no relevance in the determination of Moro identity,” Abbas said.
“If it refers to the Bangsa Moro and their homeland then it is a gross historical distortion. History records that the Bangsa Moro was never conquered and has the distinction that among all the Malay peoples only they humbled the foreign invaders.
This is our heritage, the Bangsa Moro identity which we began to assert in the 1960s, and the right to self determination which the U.N. advocates is the preservation and development of a people’s cultural identity” Abbas said.
Abbas said they likewise reject Article IX Section 5 of the BBL which defines indigenous people’s rights.
“This provision suggests that Moros are not indigenous which is utterly preposterous. There were no other peoples before them in the Bangsa Moro homeland,” Abbas argued.
“The cited provision perpetuate the scheme of President Marcos to downgrade the patrimonial claim of the Bangsa Moro by equating them with the so-called indigenous peoples, he added.
The Bangsa Moro which is a collective people of Moro nations, of the Tausug, Maranao and Maguindanao peoples number by the millions and whose civilization and culture were recognized by other nations of the world long before the great global powers emerged, he said. (BEN BALCE)