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By Aji Garbanzos
December 26, 2019

Normally those who enter Malacanang (except for a guided tour) have two things in mind-a job, a budget or a favor from the President. I wonder who would one day enter its hallowed halls and say “Mr. President am not here for a job, a favor or any funding. We are here to help you and bless this Nation. In return the only thing we need from you and our Nation is respect for our culture, our religion and our way of life.”

The one who speaks these words are talking from a position of power and influence.

I think this is how the Bangsamoro should talk-their area is so rich they could pay our national debt 4 times over. Just think of Liguasan Marsh in Maguindanao and the vast oil resources of Sulu plus the multi-billion hydro resources of Lanao. At a 75-25 sharing the Bangsamoro would be the richest in our Nation.

For centuries (specially during the times of the Spaniards) the Bangsamoro area never depended on Malacanang in order to survive and earn their living. 400 years of self-sufficiency is enough to show us their resiliency as a people and the tremendous resources of the area…

For centuries the Bangsamoro never depended on an IRA or PDAF. Who taught them to be dependent on it? It is our supposedly Catholic nation who taught them that. And what is the end result?

You see the Bangsamoro is simply an amplifier of our virtues or our misdeeds. If we teach them goodness and rigtheousness, they will amplify it better than us. If however we teach them acts of unrigtheousness then they too will amplify it better than us (sic). Question is “Is the IRA or PDAF rigtheous?” The way the Bangsamoro amplified these tools of economics shows its dire and sad consequences.

Is our election system rigtheous? The way the Bangsamoro amplified our electoral process shows the major short comings of the way we choose our leaders. The Ampatuan massacre should have not happened.

Is our Constitution rigtheous and protect all Filipinos? If yes then why is an area super abundantly rich like Lanao del Sur become the Nation’s poorest?

A majority Christian nation teaching a minority Muslim tribe the wrong values and the wrong government system and we all expect everything to be rosy? Think about it.

Or perhaps it would take the Tribes to teach this Nation how to do things right. That would be the day.

Magsaysay once said, “those who have less in life should have more in law”. But today we know this is not true for our Nation. Those who have more in life (specially the oligarchs) have more laws made to protect their interest and their pockets. This is what happened to EPIRA for our power industry and the onerous water deals entered into by MWSS. The current system rots.

Thus there is a need to change our system as a Nation. And Federalism is the major key towards this direction. And am glad the Bangsamoro is leading the way.

Lanao (which is a major player in the Bangsamoro) has always been Federalist in outlook since the 13th century and this can be evidenced by the presence of the 16 royal houses through the Pangampong Ranao.

Surprisingly there is only one Christian predominantly populated City in our country that can survive on its own without central government intervention just like the Bangsamoro. A City that does not need the IRA or PDAF of this government. Guess who?

As a matter of fact Iligan can be a city state like Hong Kong, Singapore and Monaco. With 1,000 MW power capacity and a fresh water supply of almost a 100 million liters a day-Iligan can soar on its own with no IRA, DAP, PDAF and all kind of “holdups” (no pun intended).

Though Iligan is not part of the Bangsamoro it is however the sole recipient of the Bangsamoro’s abundance through the Lake up in Marawi. It must therefore acts its part and be a zone of peace, neutrality and prosperity for the region. Iligan surprisingly is the “Gateway to the Bangsamoro”.

Running an area like the Bangsamoro or Iligan needs special knowledge and wisdom. A wisdom that only God/Allah can give.

Take note of the pattern in the Bible or Torah, if Israel is rigtheous, then the Tribe of Ishmael becomes a blessing to Israel. That is what happened to Abraham, Joseph and Moses (pbut)-they were all blest by Egypt.

However if Israel is unrigtheous then the Tribe of Ishmael becomes a scourge to them and that is why Allah/God allowed Darius and Nebuchadnezzar to happen. Read the book on Habakuk and you will see the pattern very clearly.

The question to our Nation is “Is the Bangsamoro a blessing to us or are they a scourge?” That all depends as to how our Nation acts and the laws that it makes for its people.

Rigtheousness begets rigtheousness. In the same manner unrigtheousness begets unrigtheousness.

I am for the Block Grant for the Bangsamoro-a grant which should also be granted to other Federal states/regions of our country when the time comes for it to happen. But I do not agree that it should be given forever. At 75-25 sharing the block grant should only be given for 5 years only. Thereafter the area should be flying on its own. Stop the culture of “padrino” and mendicancy.

Of all the regions of our country the Bangsamoro is the only region where the 57 nation OIC is keenly attentive to. Just imagine if these Nations decided to invest a $ 100 billion in the Bangsamoro with the wealth of Brunei, Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi combined-the Bangsamoro would “explode” economically!! Making it again the most prosperous region in our country.

But think of this Bangsamoro do you think the halal investments of these 57 Nations would be allowed to get mix up with the “pork” of this Nation’s coffers? Definitely they would never allow that to happen. Thus the earlier you can wean yourself from the “pork” of this Nation, the better for you. It is therefore imperative that you detach yourself from the IRA and PDAF of this Nation and be independent economically. Then you become the “noble” example for all regions and states of this Nation on what Federalism can do to a region that chooses to be its own man and one who stops “begging” from Malacanang.

The President made a very wise move by appointing “Maas” Chairman Nur Misuari as a Special Envoy of our country to the OIC. Afterall it is only the MNLF that has been given official recognition by the OIC in our country. The President was simply validating the move of an international body-the second biggest after the UN. That is what we call as “diskarte”.

Bangsamoro think about it. Allah/God did not bless you in order to beg. You were born to bless and be a blessing (Genesis 12:3 and 4). Fulfill your destiny and walk the talk. That is what Federalism is all about-human dignity and subsidiarity.

It is now time to stand tall as your own man!!!
Live long and prosper Bangsamoro!!!

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