COTABATO City – An eminent historian has expressed elation over the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) two years after it was created by law following a plebiscite in 2019 and amidst a popular movement calling for an extension of the transition period from the old to the new autonomous government.
“Historic,” said Rudy Buhay Rodil, a prolific author and academic who used to teach at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology in Iligan City.
Rodil was a member of the government panel negotiating peace with the Moro National Liberation Front (1993-1996) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (2004-2008).
Responding to questions about his opinion on Muslim Mindanao, he said “the fruit of GPH-Bangsamoro husay exchanges, from 1975 to 2020, has ripened into the BARMM.”
Husay, according to the historian, means “peace processes or peace negotiation.”
“Yang husay, ito ang matagal na nating ginagamit sa lahat ng conflicts, nagkakaiba sa spelling depende sa tribu pero ang husay (means) fixing conflicts, laging meron palitan ng salita, kasali ang facial expressions or gestures by hand or fingers (Husay has been used in fixing all conflicts. It just differs in spelling depending on the tribe),” he said.
He added: “Maraming nuances ang husay exchanges. Naging simula ang paggamit ng (It has many nuances and it was first used in) peace process ng UN (United Nations) at ng (and) Peace Commission before it became OPAPP.”
OPAPP stands for Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. The peace commission was established by the Aquino administration in 1987.
Rodil added that the creation of the BARMM, even as it still awaits an extension of the period of transition, “is good not only for the Bangsamoro (but) also for the peoples of Mindanaw-Sulu, certainly for the Republic of the Philippines.”
“We have federalism in action,” he said.
Federalism has been a longstanding advocacy by several Mindanao groups over the last decades.
Proponents have cited its partiality to decentralized governance and more equitable enjoyment of opportunities and distribution of wealth.
Legislating federalism, however, has remained elusive.
A Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) was set up following the BARMM’s creation in 2019, the tenure of which is currently the subject of an intense campaign for an extension.
The period within which the BTA could operate before finally being disbanded was initially pegged at 2022.
But the Covid-19 pandemic posed practical and serious challenges to institution-building efforts, prompting a multi-sectoral push for an extension to 2025. (PR)
Receive email updates from Business Week.