By: Phix Samsaraji
JOLO, SULU / March 30, 2018 – Hundreds of civilians, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) supporters and officials asked President Rodrigo Duterte when he visited Sulu Province upon the official invitation of Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan II to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that is long overdue in the hands of Philippine Congress.
The supporters waited for President Duterte on March 26 in Sulu airport from morning until he arrived at around 3PM.
Tarpaulins and streamers inscribed with messages “PASS THE BBL BTC DRAFT, BE FAITHFUL TO THE AGREEMENT, PASS THE BTC BBL, and BBL FIRST, FEDERALISM LATER” were hanged on the steel wall of the Santanina complex and along the road.
The roads were secured by both military and police where the convoy of the President passed by.
Some of the civilians were very eager to see the President. However, they failed to take a look at the President due to tight security measures being implemented on the ground. Civilians have been limited to go near the roads.
There were complaints from among the people present citing it is only in the province of Sulu where civilians who wanted to see the President are prohibited even to glimpse at the man whom they voted and elected as head of the country in 2016 polls.
People were also confused about the outcome of the meeting of the President with the local politicians. There were speculation from the ordinary people that surfaced saying that the said meeting was geared to get the pulse of local officials whether they are in favor of federalism to come before the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL).
According to some Barangay officials who requested anonymity, the visit of President Duterte was in connection to some loose fire arms that proliferated in Sulu Province being owned by politicians both from local government units (LGU’s) of different municipalities and barangay local government units (BLGU’s).
It is believed that around more than one hundred thousands of loose fire arms are still in the possession of different local politicians and only 10 percent was surrendered to the authorities.
Based on the data of the military, the said 10 percent is not enough number of firearms turned over to them. They are requesting that each barangay official should surrender 20 pieces of firearms as compliance.