It is unfortunate that the President no less wanted us to swallow that the peace effort in Mindanao and the proposed Basic Bangsamoro Law are one and the same, because they are not! The peace effort and the BBL are two different subjects. There is no proof that after the passage of BBL, we would attain lasting peace in Mindanao. We have to realize that aside from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, there are the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf and numerous private armed groups. These exclude the growing numbers of New People’s Army in Mindanao. For all we know, the BBL might suffer the same fate with our peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front. I believe that the peace effort and the BBL should not be taken as “buy one, take one”!

 I am for peace! I am for peace with the MILF, MNLF and also with BIFF in Mindanao. I am also for peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army across the country. But this PEACE should be based on justice and coherent with the 1987 Constitution.

 I initially supported BBL with closed eyes to give our President full trust and confidence in our common desire for peace. But the Mamasapano massacre woke up the entire nation. People, especially in Mindanao, are telling us to be very careful in railroading BBL passage. The SAF 44, who were massacred by 800 MILF members, did not die in vain. They provided us the light to serve and protect the foundation of the 1987 Constitution and the one Republic of the Philippines.  I am still open to the passage of the BBL, provided that all component and provisions stipulated should adhere to the 1987 Constitution. If the Aquino administration failed to have it during its term, we can continue the effort with the next Philippine president.

 The President is asking for other options, aside from the BBL, in attaining lasting peace in Mindanao. I believe that by investing a significant portion of government funds to Mindanao public infrastructure — airports, ports, roads, railroads, schools, and universities — we will be able to alleviate poverty, and this could the most effective way to attain peace. Let us always remember that war and rebellion came from the womb of poverty and social injustice. Peace can be attained with real economic growth being enjoyed by less fortunate Filipino families, both Muslim and Christians.

 We should stand under one Flag, as one Country with one Armed Forces and one National Police.


Press Release

Rikki Mathay /( 02) 5526748