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Lacson: Bangsamoro entity’s name may cause 'slight' problems

October 14, 2012 6:35pm
The decision of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to name “Bangsamoro” the new political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) may cause “slight problems,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said Sunday.

Lacson, who heads the Senate defense committee, said that the name, which means “nation of Moros,” bears the connotation that it is a “separate nation.”

“It may be petty, pero may connotation iyan. Bakit inisip nila gawing Bangsamoro? It refers to people and nation, Bangsa and Moro. Baka may kaunting problema,” the senator said in an interview over dzBB radio.

He added that Congress will have to take this matter up, as well as other portions of the framework agreement between the government and the MILF, because the Bangsamoro Basic Law will effectively amend Republic Act 6734 or the law creating ARMM.

Last week, President Benigno Aquino III announced that the Philippine government and the MILF have already reached a preliminary framework agreement which could potentially end the decades-old separatist insurgency in Mindanao.

The historic deal, which seeks to establish a Bangsamoro political entity to replace the ARMM, will be signed on Monday at the Malacañang Palace.

Own police force

Lacson likewise raised concern over the establishment of a separate police force in the Bangsamoro region.

The senator, who once served as Philippine National Police chief, said lawmakers must make sure that Bangsamoro’s police force is still under the supervision of the President in accordance with the Constitution.

Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution states that "the President shall be the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion."

“Ang commander-in-chief provision, sa aking interpretation, kapag sinabing the president is the commander-in-chief of all armed forces, hindi lang ‘yung military. All armed forces. Ang pulis natin, armed force din yan. So yan, medyo may alinlangan ako. Baka mamaya mapabayaan natin ang area na yan at magsarili,” Lacson said.

The framework agreement between the government and the MILF provides for the creation of an independent commission to recommend appropriate policing within the Bangsamoro political entity.

Lacson said Bangsamoro’s police force may have to be placed under the direct supervision of the National Police Commission.

The senator also urged the government to address problems that may emerge from renegade forces of the MILF.

“Hindi natin alam gaano karami ang pwersa na yan. Dapat lahat na ito ma-address din. Tulad ng sinabi ko nga, ito dadaan sa Kongreso dahil aamyendahan ang ARMM law,” he said.

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar earlier appealed to its faction, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, to support the preliminary peace agreement with the government. — BM, GMA News
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