Opinion: The rise of regional parties in BARMM

Atty. Bayan G. Balt

Political parties especially organized by Mujahedin and revolutionaries are conducive to peace and stability, they are vehicle for attaining peace within the constitutional order. Just recently, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under the able leadership of Datu Muslimin G. Sema led the launching of the Bangsamoro Party (acronym BaPa) at Camp Ebrahem, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. Written in party’s backdraft stage is “BaPa”, the principled party of the people. According to the English dictionary the word ‘Bapa’ has the same meaning with the word “Bapak” in Malay dialect which likewise means “father’. Other regional parties already existing in the region include the OMPIA, UMMAH and the recently organized SCIAP, all based and organized in Marawi City. The former OMPIA and UMMAH were old regional parties draws memberships from the local religious leaders and have participated in previous elections. The MILF has likewise organized its own UNITED BANGSAMORO JUSTICE PARTY or “UBJP party” several years ago, as a matter of fact, they have reportedly field candidates in the May 9, 2022 elections in BARMM.  

Peace makers and their adversaries have witnessed revolutionaries who shifted from armed struggle to organized political party and became effective instrument in realizing peace and stability. In Lebanon, the Hezbollah or (Party of God) have actively participated in the government political processes, 14 of its members were elected in the Parliament while 2 were appointed cabinet ministers. From 1992, despite being declared as a terrorist organization by some western countries, Hezbollah  has grown into an organization with a radio and a satellite TV station and provide social services to its constituents. 

In Europe, it was reported further that the revolutionary Irish Republican Army or (IRA) have allied with Sinn Fien Party (Ourselves) and become a political front of the “IRA”. Further, after signing the 1998 Good Friday Agreement  between the British and Irish governments, and most of the political parties in Northern Ireland, (on how Northern Ireland should be governed), Sinn Féin became one of the two largest parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly, winning one fewer seat than the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) at the 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly elections. In that assembly it is the largest Irish nationalist party, and it holds four ministerial posts in the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive as of 2020. In the UK House of Commons, Sinn Féin holds seven of Northern Ireland’s 18 seats, making it the second-largest bloc after the DUP. The latter participation in the pollical process have reduced tensions and improve the atmosphere of peace in said country.

In India, the great Mahatma Gandhi led his people to freedom thru his Indian Congress Party, despite his age of (76 years old), his party, fought the British empire and caused the empire to collapsed. The Indian Congress Party was Gandhi’s vehicle to gain freedom that led to Indian independence in 1947 from the British. His approach to attain freedom and independence for his people was non- violent or “Satyagraha” a concept of protests (“holding firmly to truth”, or “truth force”), a particular form of non-violent resistance or civil resistance, Gandhi says,

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”

Corollary, Datu Muslimin G. Sema, the great leader of the MNLF and Chairman of the Bangsamoro Party (BaPa) is correct when he said in the party’s launching, quote:

“What we have started more than 40 years ago, a bloody and violent struggle for national identity and liberation, has come to a point where we can pursue the same peacefully and at a different level and framework, right after the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

“So, today’s occasion, we are putting to action that choice we inked in those peace agreements. With firm audacity, we will achieve our aspirations thru the might of the ballot and no longer thru the barrel of our firearms”

(Chairman Muslimin G. Sema’s message to the launching of the Bangsamoro Party, DOS Maguindanao, January 8, 2022).

 For comments: Email me at bayanbalt@yahoo.com

Atty. Bayan G. Balt is the past Chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015), former Cabinet Secretary of DOLE-ARMM and Chairman of the Ranao Federal State Movement, (RFSM).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s