IAG Executive Director Atty. Benedicto Bacani is clarifying a statement he made in a TV interview that “the place of the combatants in the Bangsamoro government is in normalization not governance and there is a need to tap the best and the brightest in the Bangsamoro whether they are members of the MILF or not so long as they pursue the reform and change agenda of the MILF". Atty. Bacani regrets  that this statement  has created the wrong impression that it diminishes the right and capacity of former combatants to play a constructive role in governance. The limited airtime of that interview failed to capture the context in which that statement was made.

 

The two complementary tracks-- normalization that includes decommissioning and retooling of combatants on one hand and jumpstarting a new brand of governance under the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in the other must not fail in order that the peace formula that was ratified in the plebiscite can work. MILF Chair Murad and other leaders of the MILF have publicly acknowledged that politics and governance are  a much complex arena than the battlefield. The interfacing of normalization and governance with respect to MILF combatants is in the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), that has actively contributed to the successful campaign for the ratification of the BOL.

 

The statement of Atty. Bacani is meant to draw attention to the urgent need for government to invest heavily and expeditiously in the normalization track for the development and retooling of  MILF combatants and communities. As well, the BTA only has 3 years to lay a solid foundation for good governance in the region thus, the urgent need for government to make adequate funds available and for the BTA to employ the best and the brightest in the Moro community whether combatants or civilians, to pursue the reform and change agenda of the revolutionary fronts.

 

Atty. Bacani notes that his statement has stirred lively debates in social media which is a good sign that people are interested and contributing to the discourse towards making the BTA work as a critical part of the Mindanao peace formula.  

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