Mindanao-Stan, When Shall Thee Be Achieved?
August 7, 2008 1 Comment
Gawd. The contents of the MOA between the GRP and the MILF as broadcasted in an ABS-CBN news report bothered me.
The Memorandum of Agreement between them indicated the Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity (BJE) to have its own branches of government and a police force, definite components of an independent state. Meaning, the BJE will stand on its own, almost free, by chance or by force, from the Philippine Republic.
Jun Esperon must have used whatever little grey matter he had left before bowing to this agreement.
FIRST (for the information of Sec. Esperon), ANYTHING THAT ENTAILS CREATION, ABOLITION, OR MODIFICATION OF A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION (BARANGAY, CITY/MUNICIPALITY, PROVINCE, AUTONOMOUS REGIONS) MUST EMANATE FROM THE LEGISLATURE AND SECONDED BY THE PEOPLE THROUGH A PLEBISCITE. We cannot just jump into signing agreements that would not have teeth without congressional action. This is a waste of time.
Taking the case of the province of Shariff Kabunsuran, a newly created province enacted by the ARMM assembly, nullified by the courts because the ARMM assembly did not have powers to create a province, a power solely vested by the constitution to Congress. That case involved a couple of barangays. This case, the BJE, involved provinces cohabited by Christians and Muslims, not entirely part of the claimed ancestral domain.
SECOND, THE PEOPLE TO BE AFFECTED BY THIS CHANGE, PRESUMING ITS VALIDITY, WERE NOT INFORMED AND WERE NOT READY (OR GIVEN A CHANCE) TO DO AN INFORMED DECISION. Vice Gov. Piñol is on fire because parts of his province were to be seceded to this agreement without due notice to the local government of North Cotabato. Same goes to the mayor of Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and the Honorable Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City. They were not even involved in the consultation stages leading to this agreement. The GRP negotiators may have missed the fact that there was a government in those areas, too. And whilst they form part of this crazy nation, they ARE still entitled to the right to know and informed consent.
There were no consultations held, and there was no information drive to assist the denizens to be affected to make an informed decision. And by informed decision formalized by a plebiscite. All these were missed by our GRP negotiators.
THIRD, WHILE WE RESPECT ANCESTRAL DOMAIN, ANCESTRAL DOMAIN FORMS PART OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. Because if we tend to lean too much to MILF’s demands which they claim is the collective opinion of the Bangsa Moro people, than Ilocanos must be given an Ilocano Juridical Entity, and the Visayas a Visayan Juridical Entity. But because of our sincere desire to forge unity and bring calm and peace to Mindanao, we chose to gave further freedom to people whose culture and practices differ from the rest of the nation. But in this case, I think it has been gravely abused-similar to that of a person who gives his finger and devours the entire hand.
Ancestral domain and its preservation and return to its original inhabitant is key to forge unity and ties in a nation as culturally diverse as ours. But nonetheless, since, whether they like it or not, they still are part of the Philippines, they will have to admit and realize that we have to protect our territorial integrity as a nation.
FOURTH, IF AUTONOMY IS TO BE GIVEN TO THE BANGSA MORO PEOPLE, IT SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO MAKE THEIR DOMAIN PROGRESS, AND MAKE THEIR PEOPLES FLOURISH. IT MUST BE ONE CENTERED TOWARDS ASSIMILATION AND NOT DIVISION. While I believe in the resilience of the people of Mindanao, I do not think that can handle sovereignty well. They will still need support from a democracy that, no matter how young and limited, has experience in running a nation. They should be designing this confederate to be one that recognizes the diversity and color of their culture while assimilating themselves to the Filipino nation. After all, they are FILIPINOS FIRST, BANGSA MORO SECOND.
Their government structure must be that maximizing opportunities to govern semi-independently but assisted and represented in the national strata. It must be that may be given a free hand in some affairs that are exclusively theirs and sacred to their spirituality (public morals, public health, public safety, justice), but all the rest will still have to fall to the Philippine Government. The Esperon BJE concept is one that tends to completely isolate these people from the rest of the Philippines. That is not correct and politically prudent.
FIFTH, THE GRP PANEL MUST HAVE TAKEN A STRONG AND SPECIFIC STANDS AS TO THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT, AND MADE ITS MECHANICS CLEAR. The GRP panel should have explained clearly to the MILF that the MOA to be signed shall be a gateway for congressional action, which shall form part of their request to the government in exchange of long lasting peace. But the GRP panel clearly leaped on away from the explaining part because they were mysteriously pressed by a deadline. They should have communicated well and tactfully the position of the Philippine government and the steps to make this formal and within bounds of existing law.
MORALS OF THE STORY
There were many things learned, and the greatest and most provoking is that Esperon seriously sucks and must resign. If PGMA is serious with her SONA commitment of obliterating any obstacle to the progress of the nation, then Esperon must be on the chopping block years ago.
Second, we should respect the right to information and informed consent of every citizen, may they be over represented, averagely represented, underrepresented, or unrepresented. Everyone has this right and this should be exercised to ensure sound policies.
And lastly, that the solution to lasting peace and all conflict is EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. Looking down thoroughly into this problem, the only issue was miscommunication. Someone failed to explore this idea which resulted to the turmoil of everybody and everything involved. Next time, when we communicate with people who have differences with us, no matter how wide, we must speak DEFINITELY, TACTFULLY, and with firmess in position.
Mindanao-stan, when shall thee be achieved?
Peace. Especially to the Honorable Presidential Adviser (destroyer of) [on] the Peace Process.