“Our first stance is to listen and discern. We will specially listen to those who are directly affected by the BBL, those living in the Bangsamoro, the Muslim majority and non-Muslim minorities. We will listen to those who support the BBL and those who oppose it. We will listen to those who believe that there has been a lack of consultation. Further, we will listen to those outside the proposed Bangsamoro territory – Muslims, Christians, Indigenous Peoples, peoples of other religious persuasions.” (Par. 1)
To listen and discern in the light of faith, to speak and to act with the urging of hope, to wait and to bear with the strength of love, this is the standard stance of the Church in general and the CBCP in particular specially in conjunction with big and sensitive issues with human dimensions and social implications. Such is precisely the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is presently still undergoing ardent and urgent scrutiny as urged by the “Mamasapano Massacre”.
It is good to take note of the phenomenon that as the Catholic Church as such is universal in constituency and concern, the CBCP cannot but know and feel not only the blessings but also the problems, not merely joys but also the lamentations of the people of the Philippines as a whole – those in Luzon, the Visayas, and in Mindanao – all of whom are human beings with human dignity and human rights, human needs and human demands, irrespective of their different beliefs, customs and traditions and all of whom are either “Muslims, Christians, Indigenous Peoples, peoples of other religious persuasions”.
In the above-quoted paragraph, it is not hard to notice three general groupings of people specifically cited as far as the BBL is concerned:
1. Those who support and those who oppose it.
2. Those who claim that there has been sufficient or lack of consultation.
3. Those who are within and those outside the Bangsamoro territory.
The mere reality and presence of such three-fold dividing factors among those concerned with the BBL, in effect already forward the real and fundamental truth that the proposed Basic Law separates not unites, alienates not harmonizes people. And this living fact by itself sadly undermines instead of promoting national unity among the People of the Philippines.
And supposing that the said Law initiated and promoted by the Executive Department were subsequently approved in substance by the Legislative Department and eventually adjudged altogether constitutional by the Judicial Department, questions: Would there be peace specially in Mindanao? Would there be socio-economic development specially in Mindanao? Would the Filipinos be but one people with one vision under one aspiration?