By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Monday expressed hope that the recent bombings in Mindanao are not related to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed as part of the government peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“I hope that the explosions or bombings in Mindanao are not related to the passage of the Bangsamoro organic law,” Lacson told reporters in an interview.
Lacson said he hopes that no new armed rebel group was formed to thwart the government’s peace process saying it has become a “vicious cycle.”
The senator pointed out that when the government entered into a peace negotiations with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) with its chairman Nur Misuari, a new armed group, the MILF—was formed.
“Now that the state has made a peace pact with the MILF, there might be another new armed group that the government has not talked to, and is casting trouble,” Lacson pointed out.
“And it seems it is now the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF),” the lawmaker said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) has locked up Isulan, Sultan Kudarat which has been the target of recent bombings.
Law enforcement authorities have blamed the BIFF in the August 28 and September 2 bombings. At least one teenager died and 15 others injured in the September 2 bombings, while three persons and 30 people were injured in the previous incident.
Aside from Sultan Kudarat, Masbate City was also racked by a series of bombings at its seaport.
“As I’ve said this has become a vicious cycle…I just hope that the bombings in Sultan Kudarat are not related to the BOL,” he said.
He also said talks of extending martial law in Mindanao are premature.
“It’s not just too early. I don’t think martial law extension is the better solution,” he said.
The former PNP chief said he still believes that the “better solution is for our ground forces” particularly the intelligence units to really stick their nose on information.”
“They should keep their ears on the ground, and intensify their intel operations,” he said.
For her part, Sen. Nancy Binay said she hopes that authorities would look deeply at the motive behind the bombings.
“I am one with the Filipino people in condemning the bombing incidents in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat and in Masbate City. Nakikiramay at nakikisimpatiya rin ako sa mga kaanak at kaibigan ng mga nasawi at nasugatan,” Binay said.
Binay also urged Filipinos to remain calm, vigilant, and “safe at all times.”
“I urge the authorities to look deeply at the reason why the bombings happened, especially considering the whole island of Mindanao is presently under martial law, and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the senator stressed.