It has been a period of mourning in Marawi City after the Congress failed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and they are blaming President Noynoy Aquino for the defeat.

“With the scrapping of the BBL, let us go back to our original demand of independence,” says Alim Ali Nor Guro Umpara of the Bangsamoro Youth Movement. “Aquino is a traitor.”

According to Umpara, the BBL was supposed to serve as a platform of a Bangsamoro region that can utilize more political and fiscal independence compared to the current structure in place, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Aquino wished for the law to be passed this year, but several circumstances kept it from being discussed in Congress, including the public outrage towards the Mamasapano encounter, which led to the death of 44 SAF police commanders last January 2015.

While Aquino lobbied for the law to be passed, he was met by strong opposition in the legislature.

Former Lanao del Sur representative Benasing Macarambon meanwhile shared his insights on the failure of the BBL, saying that it could further radicalize the Muslim youth in the region. This may lead to strengthening of rebel forces such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Central Mindanao, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the islands, and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), which is said to be recruiting members in Mindanao.


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