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CAB: What's Next?

Bureau Chief for Iligan City and Lanao del Norte

At last that government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

There was rejoicing especially in the part of most of those in the Bangsamoro. However, it seems that the reasons for the excitement appear varied. Those who are politically motivated are happy that at last their quest for self-determination could now be attained somehow. But the ordinary person seems to be happy simply because he believes that peace can at last be reached.

Actually it seems that many in the Bangsamoro did not really understand the issues behind the armed conflict that raged for many years.

These could be gleaned from questions of many people aired in media outlets that even a Bangsamoro Transition commissioner could not exactly answer or address to simply because he himself did not have full grasp on the issue.

All the Bangsamoro knew was that many died and that they were affected by fear and displacement as the evacuated from the battle zones.

Hence, the rejoicing was in unison regardless of what the reasons were.

However, much remains to be done. After the CAB the Bangsamoro Basic Law has yet to pass the Halls of Congress.

In the lower house there seems to be no difficult hurdles. Historically, the House of Representatives tends to do what the President wishes.

But in the Senate it will, as always, be a different ball game. They would listen to the public pulse and conveniently take sides with what is more popular.

Granting that the Basic Law passes both Houses and is signed into law by the President, the harder part of the job will follow. It will take a giant paradigm shift for most of the Bangsamoro.

Before, many local government units were dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment from the national government.

Henceforth, they would need to raise their own revenues to sustain the autonomous region.

Increased rights and powers carry more responsibilities and obligations. This time around one cannot just carry a gun and roam around the countryside. He must sweat it out for the Bangsamoro to live and prosper according to his own determination. There can be no more fence sitters.

Everybody must toil and contribute his share.

For the Bangsamoro, tomorrow beckons with so much promise. And the fulfillment is in the hands of everyone.


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