The BBL on defense and policing: changes are needed

BBL rally mindanews

BBL rally [Photo by]

This is the second in a series of blogs aimed at understanding key issues in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The first established the general framework of the law (“Our own intellectual Truth Commission, starting with the BBL). This one takes up the matter of defense and policing.

In the BBL, Defense is focused on external threats and is a matter wholly within the purview of the Central government. Policing, on the other hand, belongs primarily to the Bangsamoro government with needed cooperation to take place with Central police agencies through an intergovernmental relations mechanism.

Here is what the BBL says in Article V, Powers of Government:

Section 1. Reserved Powers (Central government)

  1. Defense and external security;

 Section 2, Concurrent Powers (Shared responsibility). 

  1. Public order and safety. – The Bangsamoro Government shall have primary responsibility over public order and safety within the Bangsamoro. It shall have powers over public order and safety including those related to jail management, fire prevention, and trainings on public safety. The Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government shall cooperate and coordinate through the intergovernmental relations mechanism.

Today, military forces from the Department of Defense (DOD) and police units from the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) are deployed in Mindanao to deter and arrest rebel militias belonging to NPA, radical Muslims and other armed and violent groups. These groups sometimes deal with overseas terrorist or subversive groups, putting activities within the realm of Defense rather than Police. It is also believed that Central’s military and police leadership may coordinate from time to time with American defense (e.g., CIA) and police agencies (e.g., FBI).

The rebel militias operate in violent opposition to Philippine military and police forces. Because the Bangsamoro police force would largely be drawn from these local rebel militias, trust is likely to be weak at the outset of the implementation of the BBL.

We must ask, under the BBL arrangement, how do defense and policing agencies work cooperatively within Bangsamoro territory. Even today, there are rivalries between Defense and Policing units of the Central government. In the recent Mamasapano incident, Policing forces were reluctant to coordinate with Defense forces out of fear of security leaks. Also, who coordinates with the FBI?

Coordination is a life and death matter, and the idea of doing this through an intergovernmental coordinating agency is not sufficiently powerful. Coordination needs to be operational, live, and responsive with all participants on the same page.

So let’s take a spin through a trimmed down versions of the BBL’s section on Public Order and Safety to see what is said. A lot of the words have been taken out to allow us to focus on the main ideas. Editorial comments will be presented in red type.

Public Order and Safety

Section 1. Public Order and Safety. – The Bangsamoro Government shall have primary responsibility over public order and safety. There shall be cooperation and coordination with the Central Government.

Section 2. Bangsamoro Police. – The Police shall be for the primary purpose of law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order. It shall be part of the Philippine National Police. May we presume this means Central government would be able to direct Bangsamoro police in operational situations? That is, we presume Bangsamoro police can be relied upon to execute the mandates of Central in crucial military or policing situations such as the hunt for global terrorists.

Words mean a lot.

“Shall be a part of” is not as definitive as “reports to”. I’m guessing that, in practice, this is an area of likely friction. Perhaps huge given that even Central policing and military forces don’t see eye to eye. How do Central and Bangsamoro police agencies fit together in situations of possible armed conflict? Especially when inter-agency trust is likely very weak. We’ll talk to this point later on.

Section 3. Powers and Functions of the Bangsamoro Police. – The Bangsamoro Police shall exercise within the Bangsamoro the following powers and functions:

a. Enforce laws enacted by the Congress and by the Bangsamoro Parliament relative to the protection of lives and properties of the people;

b. Maintain law and order and ensure public safety;

c. Investigate and prevent crimes, arrest criminal offenders, bring criminal suspects to justice, and assist in their prosecution;

d. Conduct searches and seizures in accordance with pertinent laws;

e. Detain persons for appropriate terms, inform the person so detained of all his or her rights, and observe the human rights of all people in the Bangsamoro;

f. Register and license firearms;

g. Register or confiscate unregistered firearms; prosecute or recommend to the President the grant of amnesty or pardon to possessors of unregistered firearms who surrender them; and

h. Perform such other duties and exercise all other functions as may be provided by law enacted by Congress or by the Bangsamoro Parliament.

I’d be inclined to add “execute missions assigned by the President of the Philippines or the Chief of the Philippine National Police.

Section 4. Bangsamoro Police Organization. – The structural organization of the Bangsamoro Police shall be as follows:

a. It shall be headed by a Bangsamoro Police Director, who shall be assisted by at least two (2) deputies.

b. It shall have regional, provincial, and city or municipal offices;

c. The provincial office shall be headed by a provincial director; and

d. The city or municipal office or station shall be headed by a Chief of Police.

Section 5. Bangsamoro Police Board. – There is hereby created a Bangsamoro Police Board. The board shall be part of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM). The NAPOLCOM shall ensure that the Bangsamoro Police Board performs its powers and functions within the bounds of its authority. In addition, it [the Bangsamoro Police Board] shall perform the following functions:

a. To set the policing objectives and priorities in the Bangsamoro;

b. To monitor the performance of the Bangsamoro Police against policing objectives and priorities;

c. To monitor crime trends and patterns as well as performance in areas of human rights, crime reduction, and crime prevention, recruiting patterns and employment opportunities in the Bangsamoro;

d. To provide information and guidance to the Bangsamoro Government and the PNP on the annual budgetary requirement of the Bangsamoro Police;

e. To monitor police performance as against the budget allocation for the Bangsamoro Police; and

f. To recommend the Bangsamoro Police Director and his Deputies, the Provincial Directors, and City and Municipal chiefs of the Bangsamoro Police.

The Bangsamoro Police Board shall have the power to investigate complaints against the Bangsamoro Police. Appeals from its decision may be lodged with the National Police Commission. Pending resolution of the appeal, its decisions may be executed.

Again, this section lacks any obligation by the Bangsamoro Police Board to respond to guidance, directives or requests for assistance from NAPOLCOM other than general oversight that assures the Bangsamoro Police Board operates “within the bounds of authority”. But that authority does not appear to entail Bangsamoro responding to requests for operating support of Central’s Police or Military. 

Another point: The last paragraph provides a route for problems to surface and go to Central if the Bangsamoro Police Board can’t settle them. This is good in instances of perceived negligence or non-cooperation. Can the National Police Commission initiate a complaint? If there were inaction by the Bangsamoro Police on a known terrorist, could a complaint be channeled downstream? Perhaps add clarifying language such as: “Complaints may be filed by parties within or outside the Bangsamoro.”

Section 6. Composition of the Board. – The Board shall be composed of eleven (11) members. Six (6) members of the Board shall come from the Bangsamoro Parliament and five (5), from various sectors. All the six (6) members from the Parliament shall not hold any ministerial post. All the members thereof shall be appointed by the Chief Minister in accordance with the rules promulgated by the Bangsamoro Parliament for this purpose. The Chief Minister has significant executive powers.

The Chairman of the Board shall be an ex-officio commissioner of the National Police Commission on matters dealing with the Bangsamoro Police. The Chairman sits on NAPOLCOM as a non-voting member.

Section 7. Terms of Office. – The sectoral representatives to the board [sic; Board] shall hold office for a period of three (3) years; provided that of those first appointed as sectoral representatives, two (2) will sit for three (3) years, another two (2) will sit for two (2) years, and the last will sit for one (1) year.

The members of Parliament who are likewise members of the Board shall hold office for the duration of their elective terms.

Section 8. Powers of the Chief Minister Over the Bangsamoro Police. – The Chief Minister shall have the following powers over the Bangsamoro Police:

a. To act as deputy of the National Police Commission in the Bangsamoro and as ex officio chair of the Bangsamoro Police Board;

b. To select the head of the Bangsamoro Police and his deputies;

c. To exercise operational control and supervision and disciplinary powers over the Bangsamoro Police;

d. To employ or deploy the elements of and assign or reassign the Bangsamoro Police through the Bangsamoro Police Director. The Bangsamoro Police Director shall not countermand the order of the Chief Minister unless it is in violation of the law;

e. To oversee the preparation and implementation of the Integrated Bangsamoro Public Safety Plan;

f. To impose, after due notice and summary hearings of the of the citizen’s complaints, administrative penalties on personnel of the Bangsamoro Police except those appointed by the President; and

g. Do everything necessary to promote widespread support for the Bangsamoro Police by residents of the Bangsamoro.

The Chief Minister runs the police. This can be good if quick, decisive action is required. It can be bad if the Chief Minister uses the police to enforce authoritarian mandates or block Central defense or policing initiatives. There is no mechanism for correcting problems other than through laborious complaint through the Police Board.

Section 9. Manning Level. – The average manning level of the Bangsamoro Police shall be approximately in accordance with the police-to-population of one (1) police officer for every five hundred (500) persons. The actual strength by cities and municipalities shall depend on the state of peace and order, population density and actual demands of service in the particular area; provided that the minimum police to population ratio shall not be less than one (1) police officer for every one thousand (1,000) persons; provided further that urban areas shall have a higher minimum police to population ratio as may be prescribed by regulations.

The population of ARMM is 3,256,140 (2010 census) so the police force would be at least 6,500 officers. On the side of cooperative peace and order, it is a large and flexible force. The mandates of the BBL can be met. On the side of divided loyalties – defense of territory, animosity and mistrust – it is a potentially huge blocking force.

Section 10. Appointment of Officers and Members of the Bangsamoro Police. -The appointment of the officers and members of the Bangsamoro Police shall be effected in the following manner: [text omitted; routine administrative steps.]

Section 11. Community Police.– The Bangsamoro Police shall adopt community policing as an essential mechanism in maintaining peace and order. Moro and other indigenous people would presumably be suitably represented in local police forces.

Section 12. Law Governing the Bangsamoro Police. – The Bangsamoro Parliament is hereby authorized to enact laws to govern the Bangsamoro Police consistent with this Basic Law.

Section 13. Transitional Arrangements. – Upon the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and pending the organization of the Bangsamoro Police, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority shall have substantial participation in choosing the head and in the employment and the deployment of existing Philippine National Police in the Bangsamoro.

Section 14. National Support Services. – The relationship between the Bangsamoro Police and the national support services of the Philippine National Police shall be determined by the intergovernmental relations body. This is too vague. It works for administrative matters but not operational matters. It does not clearly define how cooperation between Bangsamoro police and Central defense and policing operations would be handled. Urgent or large operations can’t be worked out in cumbersome administrative coordination meetings.

Section 15. Defense and Security.– The defense and security of the Bangsamoro shall be the responsibility of the Central Government. The Central Government may create a Bangsamoro Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the Bangsamoro, which shall be organized, maintained, and utilized in accordance with national laws.

Qualified inhabitants of the Bangsamoro shall be given preference for assignments in the said Bangsamoro Command.

We presume that the hunt for international terrorists is the job of Central Defense, and the hunt for local terrorists is the job of the Bangsamoro police. It is important to delineate a mechanism for cooperation. In this circumstance, who orders the Bangsamoro Police to step aside in a raid akin to the Marwan operation? Or to assist in some way?

How is trust established?

Who coordinates with the FBI, Interpol or other international policing agencies?

What remedies can be taken for negligence or failure to support Central initiatives?

Section 16. Calling Upon the Armed Forces. – The provisions of the preceding sections notwithstanding, the Chief Minister may request the President to call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines:

a. To prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion, when the public safety so requires, in the Bangsamoro;

b. To suppress the danger to or breach of peace in the Bangsamoro, when the Bangsamoro Police is not able to do so; or

c. To avert any imminent danger to public order and security in the area of the Bangsamoro.

All good. Now reverse the obligation. “The President may request the Chief Minister to call upon the Bagsamoro police to support local operations of Central defense and/or policing agencies under the direction of an appointed ‘Officer in Charge’ (OIC).”

Section 17. Coordination. – The Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government shall establish coordination protocols, which shall govern the movement of Armed Forces of the Philippines in the Bangsamoro. This section contains a vitally important loose end. Pushing the obligation to work it out to a future time is a barrier to harmonious implementation of the BBL. There is a law but no clear way to proceed on the most critical of requirements: coordination in a conflict situation. The language should be provided before the Bill is acted on.

Section 18. Indigenous Structure. – The Bangsamoro Government shall recognize indigenous structures or systems which promote peace, and law and order. The Bangsamoro Parliament shall provide institutional support to these structures and systems to enhance peace and security in the Bangsamoro.


Primary Weakness: The document does not clarify how operations such as the Marwan hunt can be carried out in a truly cooperative way. No direct line of command is specified. We’ve offered some specific suggestions as to where the document can be revised. What ought to happen is the following:

1) The President defines a priority mission in private consultation with the Bangsamoro Chief Minister, placing Bangsamoro police under Central jurisdiction for the mission.

2) The President appoints an Officer in Charge (OIC) of the mission (either from Defense or Police). The Bangsamoro Police Director reports to the OIC.

3) The mission is carried out.

Some minor tweaking would improve the document. Most aspects of the agreement are reasonable.

We will discuss Bangsamoro representation on Central agencies as a separate topic to determine if Bangsamoro is “overweighted” in its involvement and influence in Central government. In policing, it seems that Central policing is “underweighted” in its involvement with the Bangsamoro government.

These are one person’s observations and recommendations. Further observations and interpretations from readers would be most welcome.


60 Responses to “The BBL on defense and policing: changes are needed”
  1. BFD says:

    Feel giddy already…

  2. chit navarro says:

    Am still processing all the info here and on part 1. But I just want to congratulate you on your blogging success… you’re on a roll, Chief Apologist / Loyalty Medalist to the best president we have for now and the soon-to-be CS of the never-will-be President Jojo… 🙂 🙂 🙂 It now takes longer to read and appreciate your blog because you now have a million or so followers!

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, groan, I have to get up at 3 in the morning to attend to my commitment of meeting and greeting and honoring all who honor the Society with a comment. Alas, with the volume, we start to get floods of agenda-pushing near-trolls, but that, I suppose, is the price of fame. Now as to fortune, how do you think the site would look with ads plastered all over it? 🙂

      600 comments in that Respect for Aquino blog . . . I need a numbering system like Raissa, but that requires an IT department and . . . well . . . without the ads, it ain’t gonna happen.

      The BBL blog is mainly an exercise that I am going through myself that I dump here, too, for whatever edification it may offer. I want to know it inside out so that my final decision on it is sound. The BBL is problematic in its current form because we would likely have police forces in conflict.

  3. karl garcia says:

    We need Edgar’s enumerations to dissect this. I can give personal opinion so as not to be one of the agenda pushing near trolls (because of some nonsense comments). I said somewhere before that I get a chance to listen to defense matters because of direct or indirect association with the defense committee of both houses,but of course gotta to be careful in my trigger happy keyboard typing.Now my opinion is the interagency situation as it is is already a mess as it is. interagancy problems is caused by redundant agencies ad hoc task forces, presdential anti like this and that commissions. redundance already abounds, coordinating that requires acrobatic skills. then I see the red marked commentary that says it is one of the main problemslike the reporting to stuff, seeing eye to eye,etc.
    They say the recent SNAFU is caused by lack of coordination. I want to believe them.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, nicely put. I am in the “study” phase of the BBL and alternative initiatives. This one is clear. There is not sufficient bonding between police units that would deploy Bangsamoro police in National operations. One of the “to dos” needs to be a look at remedies. What happens if the Bangsamoro willingly harbor terrorists or fail to yield to national initiatives? Trust is horrible right now, and it falls to MILF to re-establish it. I think there might be a back-up plan, which is to pass new laws on indigenous populations, define new territories, and delegate some authorities. But very much less of a step toward autonomy.

      • karl garcia says:

        By the looks of it it is good that BBL won’t meet its March deadline.
        I am not for all out war I am for peace to stop the vicious cycle . I got a first hand knowledge of the vicious cycle by having a friend whose brother was decapitated in Basilan. What followed was undending sporadic violence (oxymoronic but no term available)
        It is urgent That BBL is passed, but aside from the constitutional issues to avoid being stamped as unconstitutional by the SC. I hope there will be more time for more hearings on the BBL even just to discuss points like the ones you redmarked.

        The best thing I can do as a citizen is to send across the message to my dad who has more access to the right persons,which is a hit and miss because I get shot down most of the time, but sometimes when he agrees he sends the message across and for me that is a start.

        • Joe America says:

          To me, as far as the policing section is concerned, it can be modified with one or two simple statements that put Bangsamoro police subordinate to a National Officer in Charge of specific missions or operations, and somehow to deal more specifically with punishments for coddling of terrorists.

          • karl garcia says:

            yes and let the recent incident be a template of the do’s and don’ts.

            I can understand that they concentrate on things they can control.
            But the trouble is exactly that,containing the ones they can not control like the terrorists.
            And yes that being a part of PNP but not reporting to verbiage needs to be revisited.

  4. sonny says:

    Coming to terms with terms about BBL: irredenta, subsidiarity, federalist papers, constitutional amendments, national defense, police & constabulary, sovereignty, North Borneo all over again … my head is spinning and waiting for the other shoe to show itself then fall. 😦

    • Joe America says:

      Grab hold of something, quick, sonny. Steady on, man! It is through the whirl of information that we start to see patterns emerge, and solutions. This little idea is growing in the back of my mind that this BBL is too much, too soon. Especially now. I think a couple of new laws might do the trick: (1) rights of indigenous peoples, and (2) affirmative action revenue sharing. Move forward with economic development, honor for local customs, and let the local desire for economic well-being disenfranchise the rebels.

      But I have to do the study to see what is in this . . . ummm . . . bag of bones . . .

      • sonny says:

        Help Joe. we can’t even decide on PNoy, now we need Filipino versions of Hamilton, Madison and John Jay to whip up the papers that will parse BBL for us. Pls replicate yourself. Immediamente!! Consider the US Constitution: workable for 239 years for, so far, now 380 million souls with only 33 amendments. Do we have such an instrument for a 69 yr old republic and 100 million souls? And now a subset of 16%? Yikes!

        • karl garcia says:

          told you to wait for Edgar to do the parsing.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, well, I think simple and profound are better than detailed and confusing. In going through this BBL, I understand why I was wise before my time not to become a lawyer. (I wanted to be a radio broadcaster, but that bubble crashed when I finally got to Los Angeles, went through radio/tv broadcasting school, and found out you had to start out in the boonies at 65 cents per hour). So I went into banking . . .

          Well, I consider Wickenburg, AZ the boonies . . . you may call it paradise . . .

    • karl garcia says:

      @ sonny, again you are not alone sir. Oldies music is relaxing whether its Sinatra’s “my way”, Nat King Cole’s” whatever will be will be”, the Beatles “let it be” and “give peace a chance”

      • sonny says:

        Karl, right now I’m making a beeline for the Rolling Stones’ PAINT IT BLACK! 🙂

        • karl garcia says:

          Hope you just won’t fade away without facing the facts…It’s not easy facing up when the world is black.

        • Joe America says:

          Rolling Stones is not oldies. They are still alive and performing. Louis Armstrong is oldies.

          Not to quibble . . .

          • sonny says:

            Joe, it’s all going in a blur anyway. Then how about Teddy Randazzo’s WAY OF A CLOWN. There, I’m painting myself out. Give me a cutoff year, somebody pls.

          • karl garcia says:

            We still get to see the moves of Jagger. I just remembered that my favorite contestant in the voice philippines got eliminated after singing moves like Jagger of maroon 5.

          • sonny says:

            The time has passed. Would have loved to see him for that singular experience to attend a rock concert. I caught Sinatra live at 75; Also Sedaka, Humperdinck, Tom Jones, Paul Anka, J. Mathis, The Lettermen, Henry Mancini. Vic Damone … I am lucky.

            • karl garcia says:

              O yes you are lucky, I am stil in my fortys but I got exposed early with music and those (most of them)were the first artists I have ever heard on 8 track.

            • sonny says:

              Tonight Grammies was on. Changed channels. Can’t relate anymore. The Ventures and other ’60s instrumentals it will be, on the iPod tonight.

            • Joe America says:

              You’re also OLD! ahahahaha Yes, you are lucky. Me, Ray Charles, BB King, George Benson . . a few others I’d have to dig the memory banks for.

              • sonny says:

                Alas! That too. “O so lonely. Sitting alone on my stool.” — Shelley Berman

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, my. I wish I had a crackerjack memory like yours. My parents watched Lawrence Welk with Gizelle Mackenzie, and also Perry Como. I watched Annette Funicello bop around looking cute (Micky Mouse Club). Things were so quaint and simple (pure or naive, I’m not sure) back then. Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet. Life was also black and white, like the TV. Then Ricky Nelson crashed and the world got complicated . . .

              • sonny says:

                Not to forget my westerns BONANZA & BIG VALLEY. 🙂 Now it’s CRIMINAL MINDS! 😦 Ah, the halcyon days of old …

                @ Karl , must not forget Laura Brannigan!

              • karl Garcia says:

                I remember Bonanza, how the west was won,etc. I stayed in states 74 to 75 (dad was schooling then naval post grad) I was a toddler left in front of a tv and left to discover how to operate an 8 track.
                I am no longer updated in music and wasn’t able to relate to yesterday’s grammys except of course the song “Let it go ” every kid knows it so it was sort of a requirement to sing along with them.
                Laura Brannigan, it has been more than ten years since she left us and it’s hard to forget her.

              • Joe America says:

                Lorne Greene as Papa. Hoss, the loveable giant. Adam, and the other son who was actually bald but wore a wig. I was a cow-kid and even had a horse until I became 13 and discovered girls. Then it was cars . . . ahahaha . . . then, in college, beer. Passages . . .

              • karl garcia says:

                Oh how I miss reruns. I followed Little Joe Cartright’ s Michael Landon until he became papa Charles Ingalls in the little house….

              • Joe America says:

                Little Joe, right, the handsome young one. Adam must have been the wigged bald son. And of course, Hoss. I liked Hoss, but he died too young.

  5. ella says:

    hopefully the lives lost during the mamasapano incident will help everyone who are writing this law to go to details of this law and insist that the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines should be above the BBL .

  6. Jose Guevarra says:

    The House of Representatives has shelved the BBL… for now. I agree with Congressman Rufus Rodriguez. There are too many questions that need answers at this point.

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. Section 1. Public Order and Safety. All good.

    2. Section 2. Bangsamoro Police. Your (JoeAm’s) questions are relevant.
    2.1. I would take “part of” to mean that the Bangsamoro police organization is subsumed under the national organization. That is subsumed in command structure, goals and direction.

    3. Section3. Powers and Functions. I have two concerns here:

    3.1. In Islamic countries, guilt is often established by confession, and confession is often extracted by torture. What safeguards are there that this “undue” process will not take place?

    3.2. I raised this question before: What assurance do we have that minorities (tribes, Lumad and non-Muslim inhabitants) will be treated fairly? (Section 18 gives a bow to this concern.)

    4. Section 4. Bangsamoro Police Organization.

    4.1. The hierarchy is clear: Police Director –> Provincial Director –> City/Municipal Chief.

    4.2. However, I find the sequence of the sections confusing. Mention should be made of the entire hierarchy including Chief Minister and the Police Board in this section. The sequence should be top-down not bottom-up.

    4.3. I have prefixed some questions below with “This is a confused comment” because of the lack of definitions in Section 4 and the seemingly illogical sequence of the sections.

    5. Section 5. Bangsamoro Police Board.

    5.1. This is a confused comment: The Board has recommendatory powers for all the positions in the hierarchy. Who approves? NAPOLCOM? No, it seems to be the Chief Minister (Section 8).

    6. Section 6. Composition of the Board.

    6.1. This is a confused comment: Who is the Chief Minister? He is not mentioned in Section 4. Is this the Chief Minister of Parliament? Yes, it seems to be.

    6.2. I think the composition of the Board is lopsided, six to five, in favor of politicians – that is, members from the Parliament.

    6.3. I find the number of members of the Board too large. Why eleven (11)? Why not nine (9) or seven (7)? I think, as we noted in the first instalment, that there is a tendency to create sinecures in the BBL. Jobs for the Bangsamoro boys.

    6.4. I can understand the need to have “civilian” oversight on the Board in the form of parliamentary and sectoral representation. But there is no mention of a requirement for “professional” police members. I would go for a 7- or 9-member composition with 2 parliamentary members, 2 sectoral members, and the rest professional police members. At least one of the parliamentary and sectoral members must be a lawyer.

    6.5. Sectoral representation, whatever it means, can be entirely dispensed with… unless it’s along tribal lines. But parliamentary representation is already along tribal lines. Question: How many tribes make up Bangsamoro? Can someone answer this please.

    6.6. My objection to a largely non-professional composition is (a) comprehension of police and legal matters; and (b) the high probability in the exercise of undue political/sectoral influence on police matters. Wasn’t this part of the problem with the Ampatuan massacre?

    7. Section 7. Terms of Office. All good.

    8. Section 8. Powers of the Chief Minister.

    8.1. The Chief Minister, assuming he is the Prime Minister of the Parliament, has the appointing power to the Boards recommendatory powers. This means that all appointees are “political” appointees with terms of office contemporaneous and coterminous with that of the Chief Minister. There is no assurance of continuity.

    8.2. There does not seem to be an emphasis on the semi-permanent employment of career police and police professionals at the top level.

    8.3. The Chief Minister is the ex officio chair of the Board? Why? He should be an ex-officio member but not the chair. Does he not have enough duties and responsibilities in Parliament? That position should be given to a semi-permanent police professional. An alternative is to have a Minister of Police in the Cabinet acting as the ex officio member but not chair.

    10. Section 9 to Section 18. All good. Agree with JoeAm’s comments. I may have some comments later.

    11. Questions:

    11.1. Can the Chief Minister declare martial law for the whole or part of the Bangsamoro areas? Or is this the sole prerogative of the President?

    11.2. Does the BBL cover the relationship between Bangsamoro and the NBI? Policing is under DILG while the NBI is under DOJ. Is this in a separate section?

    11.3. If the tribal composition of Bangsamoro is lopsided with one tribe having a majority of members, this points to the possibility of one party dominating Parliament for a considerable period of time. This is not tenable. It leads to arrogance, stagnation and the mistreatment of minorities.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ll get to this later. I want to write a summary of today’s Mamasapano hearing while it is still ringing in my ears.

    • Quick comment on 3. I just realized that number 3 opened a can of worms for me. What are the sub text that I am failing to account for because of lack of familiarity with how justice/finance/business is done in Islamic countries. We need our Muslim countrymen to help us understand the mores and customs that is invisible to me/us.

    • Joe America says:

      3.1 The document is clear about protecting human rights. National laws prohibit torture. Beyond that, it would be up to agencies to prosecute misdeeds. It is a fascinating question, though. There are regular courts and Muslim courts. What is the basis for “evidence”?

      4.2 Good point.

      6.1ff. Chief Minister is defined else where I suspect. Although I think your ideas are strong, I’d suggest that, at the current stage, some ideas need to be forgiven in favor of the few big ones. Re-writing the document would be too much. The question is, are the points in 6 “deal killers” for you?

      8. Yes, the Chief Minister is the A Dog of this government.

      11.1 and 11.2 EXCELLENT. These are deal-killers, I think, if not clarified appropriately.

      11.3 True. Hmmmmmmm. What’s the alternative? It is equally unfair to give small tribes big influence.

  8. BFD says:

    In light of the recent Mamasapano incident, I’m leaning on the postponement of the passing of the BBL. This document shouldn’t be rushed. Yes, there is a Damocles sword hanging in our heads with every passing day that this document is not passed, but hey, the two sides must really show its sincerity in this peace process…

    From the reports coming in, the MILF really don’t have a firm grip on the leadership of the 105th Base Command and nearby MILF commands in Mamasapano. It’s like they’re connected with the MILF (if they want to follow the order of the MILF Central Command), but not really connected (if they don’t want to follow their Central Command).

    Now, if a “hold your fire” order has been given as early as 10 a.m. on that fateful day, surely MILF forces could withdraw because of the Central Command’s order. But they kept firing anyway, with videos at that.

    Also, this is what I find alarming, they harbor terrorists in their midst. Not one, but two terrorists, teaching other wannabe bombers on how to make bombs. Why did the terrorists live only 500 meters from the house of the 105th Base Commander?

    I believe it is for easy troop movement if said terrorist is on a hot spot like what happened in Mamasapano….

    Do they really want peace? If so, prove it!

    • Joe America says:

      That’s a fair reading, BFD. It would indeed appear that there is no mechanism for enforcing leadership orders. Warriors are warriors and negotiators are not authorities. The MILF chief negotiator on the BBL could not attend the hearing evidently because, even after a week, he had not gained authorization from some council. Well, who is in charge around here, anyway?

      • BFD says:

        Sorry for my rant, Joe. I am for peace, but we have to draw a line somewhere. As I’ve earlier said, let talk peace, but be sincere about it.

        But I wish they would conduct the Mamasapano hearing in closed door because of the security implications of it.

        Just the slides they’re presenting of troop deployment reveals where they AFP’s troops are, so we’re playing with lives here, our troops’ lives.

        Also, if our dear senators really love our country and rid it of corrupt government officials and/or corrupt practices, why not attend ALL corruption hearing in their great tribunal?

        Corruption drains us of our funding and resources that otherwise can buy military assets (plains, tanks, drones, rockets, smart bombs, ships, missiles) that can match those of other countries.

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  1. […] of other possibilities associated with this agreement. On Joe’s second BBL article (“The BBL on defense and policing: changes are needed”) covering policing and defense, I’d like to add that further study into Islamic military […]

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