The recent series of articles featured in this column spawned the interest of not a few residents.
There are many who, for decades, have harbored enmity against the Matling Industrial and Commercial Corporation or MICC for reasons we discussed in past articles, foremost of which is the alleged encroachment of the corporation's operations on private lands.
Maranaw professionals have reacted favorably to the narratives. Some even volunteered information about other abuses and the indiscretions of the plant's security guards.
They are thankful that with the publication of their grievances, things have come to the fore and the consciousness of many. They raised the collective hope that the government would act on their complaints.
This column can only do so much. It has no wherewithal, nay, political authority, to vet the veracity of the complaints in an investigation.
Its primary mandate is to bring to a broader audience what is fed to it by residents with an axe to grind.
That mandate is with the government. A follow-up inquiry should be initiated after the premise has been laid down through this column.
The investigation should be welcomed by everyone interested in the issue. It will provide the party complained of an opportunity to present its side in the spirit of due process, the cornerstone of a democratic institution. For all we know, the company has been acting within the bounds of the law and norms.
For this purpose, readers look up to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Authority or BTA to take up the cudgels for those whose interests have been adversely affected by the operations of the MICC.
After all, the raison d'etre for the BARMM is, inter alia, to correct injustices inflicted upon the Moros, like the dispossession of their ancestral and legally owned land, and to alleviate their lot.
What good is a self-governing political structure if it cannot address the problems of its constituents? The ball is now in the court of the interim Chief Minister and the Speaker of the Regional Parliament. The people are watching and waiting for action.
The residents ask that the BARMM government act on their complaints. It is their hope that at least one of the 80 Deputies takes up the matter in the interim Regional Parliament so that it will be referred to the appropriate committee for inquiry in aid of legislation.
This incidental power of parliamentary inquiry constitutes one of the basic functions of government. And it is often resorted to to right a wrong and craft measures that will address similar problems that may arise in the future.
This early, the BARMM government should assert its presence and power and prove to one and sundry that it is equal to its mandate. Decisive action in conducting an inquiry will drown the voices in the peanut gallery that see nothing good about the grant of autonomy, which they claim is another layer of government bureaucracy.
Who knows, they may entertain second thoughts and give the BARMM a chance to prove its worth. An investigation will also be doing justice to the residents of the adjoining municipalities where the corporation operates.
MICC will likewise be provided a forum where it can deny, negate, or thrash the complaints and prove that they are devoid of merit.
It will be precedent-setting and will send a strong message to the autonomous region that BARMM, true to its mandate, is, after all, ready to act on the complaints of its constituents and, when needed for good governance, can wield one of its inherent powers, like the parliamentary power of inquiry.
It will put to notice those who abuse power that the autonomous government is here to check and contain it.
An inquiry will give hope that the autonomous government is finally proving its relevance and capacity to render justice to whom it is due. It will also be assuring to know that the blood of the mujahideens who fought for self-rule was not spilled in vain.