Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Federalism and BMJE

I am glad that my friend Dondon Clamor has finally put up a blog on federalism. Federal Philippines is one of the proposals which should be considered in the discussion on what to do with the peace and development concern facing Mindanao. When it hogged the headlines years back, I took federalism with some degree of skepticism knowing fully well how this country is being run by traditional politicians or TRAPOs (the vernacular “trapo” means dirty wipe cloth) who are only after for their own political ends.

One of my cartoons in 2001 depicted my previous position on the issue (the hand of federalism picks up one star from the country (flag of the Republic of the Philippines) to drop it to the plate of politics).But I am giving it a chance now - promise! - as another

avenue that would possibly resolve Mindanao’s age-old peace and development concerns.

Mindanao has been in political turmoil for decades brought about by the presence of pocket rebellions staged by the Moro rebels starting off with the emergence of the Moro National Liberation Front led by Prof. Nur Misuari. It gave birth to another group called Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which aims to put up a Islamic State out of this second largest island in the country. MNLF was for autonomous region and it signed a peace agreement in 1996 (?) with the government that resulted in the establishment of Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The latter pushed for a more radical position – to take away Mindanao from the Philippine governance as a claimed Moroland or bangsamoro.

The twist now is that MILF wants bigger scope extending the current ARMM areas as maybe proposed under the controversial Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity (BMJE) – claiming some regions or parts in the country as ancestral land as contained in the recent Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). This has stirred debates and complaints on the ground saying the peace panel never consulted the people and that the agreement is a "mockery to our sovereignty."

The problem is that in the first place, the MILF does not care about the so-called legislative processes. But the government will have to deal with a large number of Mindanaoans who would not want BMJE to mess up their lives. Simply put, the government cannot just push BMJE or similar proposals without consulting the people. There are local government units which strongly disagreed with the BMJE concept by lodging a complaint to get temporary restraining order (TRO) at the proper court. It is impossible to do it - as if you it is giving away a piece of cake at its whim. We are in a democratic country after all and so win-win solution is the best option at all time and sincerity in doing so is what we want to rule rather than to use BMJE to engage the MILF in a merry-go-round exercise which won’t get us anywhere even near our common benefits.

There is no point of pushing a proposal that will only aggravate the current situation in Mindanao or play game with MILF's clamor for self-determination as a maneuvering to salvage dwindling political popularity or whatever.

(Small photos -Mindanao map and surfing Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo- were grabs from http://kaypoh.com.)


shiera (bisdakbabbles) said...

I consider Lanao del Norte as my home, and my family still lives there. It isn't part of ARMM... and the government has decided without consulting the people to include Lanao del Norte in ARMM. Many people from Lanao del Norte, including myself, are really enraged by this action... as you've said, the government is really messing with our lives.

Herson Juego said...

Quite ironically, the lumads are raising their voices against the compact entered into by the gov't with the MILF. That's because they say they weren't given the chance to raise their concerns about the deal, knowing for a fact that they've been living in Mindanao for centuries already.

hector_olympus said...

hey, the surfing mole picture looks very very familiar. where did you get that, if i may ask?