The creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was envisioned to let the Bangsamoro achieve self-governance. Some Moro Leaders said it was enough. Others said it was a bait.
Other leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), however, were not contented of that arrangement. They founded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the rest is history.
At the height of the MILF struggle, a loyal adherent to the MNLF who had held various elected positions in Maguindanao, told newsmen that the ARMM was good enough. What he said was needed is “to remove the barbarians in government who are doing nothing but siphoning public money into their pockets.”
Indubitably, the MILF through the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) got a better deal from the national government. This would be materialized through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) – Self governance according to the terms agreed between the MILF and GPH.
While the passage of the BBL is moving at turtle-pace in the halls of Congress, the present leadership of the ARMM is laying the groundwork for self-governance.
And that Maguindanao politician may be right after all. Removal of “barbarians” in government is the surefire formula to achieve a progressive and prosperous self-government.
In provinces of the Bangsamoro where the people have installed honest, efficient and effective government leaders, economic growth and development are now showing. The people are beginning to rise from the quagmire of ignorance, illiteracy, poverty and disease.
The present leadership of the ARMM is clearly moving at the right direction. It is strengthening the institutions of self-governance in the region. Thus, even if the passage of the BBL is further delayed, the fundamentals of self-governance are now in place.
Unfortunately, in provinces and municipalities where there are still “barbarians in government”, self-governance would still have no concrete meaning among the masses.