Duterte’s Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), as it now stands as separately approved bills by the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, has roused deep and widespread dissatisfaction among the Moro people and advocates of their right to self-determination. The impending enactment of the BBL by Duterte will not only fail to correct the historical injustices against the Moro people, but will further prolong and worsen their national oppression. Contrary to its aim of appeasing the Moro people, Duterte’s BBL is set to succeed only in further enraging them to wage even greater struggles to advance the Bangsamoro cause.
Mobilizing his supermajority in the lower house and majority control of the Senate, Duterte managed to railroad the approval of his BBL with almost nary an opposition by allowing it to be mangled by reactionary ruling class politicians with deep-seated anti-Moro prejudice and chauvinism. The BBL is now beyond recognition of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Council which drafted the original consensual version. The process of reconciling the different versions of the Senate and House bills through the bicameral conference is anticipated to further hollow out the BBL until it is left only with its name as an empty shell.
Far from giving the Moro people the long-aspired for right to self-determination, Duterte’s BBL is set to further reinforce their national oppression. It subsumes any so-called “Moro authority” to be exercised in the BBL under the 1987 Philippine constitution and the powers of the central government. Most critically, it reserves the central government’s exclusive right to operate an armed forces within the Bangsamoro area, and puts local police operations under the Philippine National Police. Duterte’s BBL aims to disempower the Moro people by disarming and demobilizing their armies, thus disabling them from defending their rights and exercising political authority.
Furthermore, Duterte’s BBL denies the Moro people the exclusive right to determine the use of their natural resources. It has denied them the privilege to manage and distribute land, determine and reclassify agricultural land-use, regulate power generation, transmission and distribution as well as the operation of public utilities, to practice their own justice system, and to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.
The Moro people will forever suffer the loss of the Liguasan Marsh and the Lanao Lake and its rich resources to foreign big capitalists which will be allowed under Duterte’s BBL to encroach on Bangsamoro land and operate its businesses without limits to foreign ownership. It specifies certain areas as free ports where foreign companies will be afforded tax incentives and other investment privileges. Duterte’s BBL is set to transform Bangsamoro land into a haven for plunderous mining companies, and destructive rubber and oil palm plantations, and make the broad broad masses of the Moro people suffer widespread economic displacement.
Duterte’s BBL is an insidious measure which pretends to serve the Moro people but in fact aims to oppress them further. The broad spectrum of Moro groups are disenchanted, to say the least. To many, Duterte’s BBL further insults and assaults the Moro people who just recently suffered gravely from war of destruction against Marawi City perpetrated by Duterte, the AFP and the US military.
Duterte and the whole anti-Moro chauvinists in the reactionary state are making the same mistake of deceiving the Moro people. The enactment of Duterte’s BBL in its present mangled form will surely rouse the Moro people, especially the broad masses of peasants, workers and semiproletariat, as well as petty-bourgeois intellectuals, to continue waging revolutionary resistance. Various armed Moro revolutionary groups are bound to intensify their armed struggle as Duterte’s BBL makes it crystal clear that they have no other recourse.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces reiterates full support to the Moro people’s continuing struggle for their right to self-determination. The CPP enjoins the broad masses of the Moro people to rise up with the Filipino people against the Duterte government which has made them suffer through wars and attacks against their human rights.
The Filipino people and the Moro people must forge unity against their common oppressors and exploiters. They must jointly struggle against US imperialism and its interventionist military, against the plunderous foreign companies and their local business partners, against the US-directed Armed Forces of the Philippines, against the big bureaucrats who pocket billions of pesos and fleece on the people, as well as against those forces that betray their common cause.
They Filipino people and the Moro people are strongly connected by their struggles for national liberation and social justice against common enemies. Their history of symbiotic resistance continues.