MILF – GPH TALKS CRUMBLE

After one year of constantly proclaiming their best intentions, the Philippine government peace panel finally put its cards on the negotiating table. And the MILF found it wanting.

 

Instead of a fully-functioning autonomous government, or as the MILF would want to call it – a “sub-state”, the Philippine government merely promised to strengthen the much discredited  ARMM or Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Presumably, the government will “strengthen” ARMM through appointing its own hand-picked people to run the region. There would be no additional powers that would be granted to the regional government.

 

To add insult to injury, the government proposed “the creation of a Bangsamoro Commission composed of  the MILF, government and other stakeholders that will be tasked to supervise the implementation of  the peace agreement including lobbying with Congress for the amendments to the Organic Act to strengthen autonomy.”(MindaNews) This will only dilute the clout of the MILF and will strengthen other “stakeholders” like the settlers who are opposed to any meaningful autonomy for the Bangsa Moro.

 

It is quite obvious that the Philippine government is merely suing for time – time to strengthen its hold on ARMM and the so-called “Moro” civil society so as to use them as leverage against the MILF. With the cancellation of the ARMM polls, the government will handpick the new ARMM officers.

 

Below are the characteristics of the government’s proposal as reported by ABS-CBN. I would characterize these statements, which are all grandmother statements, as nothing but HOT AIR.

ELEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GOVERNMENT PROPOSAL
(The Government of the Philippines submitted to the MILF its proposal for a peace accord today, August 22, 2011)

1.  The proposal contains a formula to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in our country.  It presents a practical and bold approach to create the conditions for meaningful and effective governance through a sustainable partnership that will bring in the needed social services and projects that provide the springboards for sustainable economic development. Unlike past administrations, this government is poised to use its massive resources and its theme of good governance for this undertaking.

2.  The proposal is founded on partnership.  It has the potential to create mutual trust amongst peoples of our country, heal the wounds of conflict, mobilize and capacitate Bangsamoro leaders and therefore increase understanding among all Filipinos of every ascribed identity.  It is a partnership that will therefore set the stage for more enlightened political discussion amongst all parties.  This discussion, in turn, will effectively point the way to the realization legal reforms that may be truly necessary.

3.  The proposal is politically comprehensive. It contains ideas for reforming the relationship between national and regional government.  But, it also meets the challenge of finding viable mechanisms that increase the possibility for finding convergence of programs among all those who claim to represent the Bangsamoro, Christian settlers and indigenous peoples within the conflict affected areas. The reform of political relations takes into account the realities of socio-economic underdevelopment, demographic shifts and diversity across communities.

4.  The proposal works with what is available and doable within the next few years. It does not start with contentious and divisive issues whose resolution may not be realizable as yet.     The proposal thus realistically meets the urgent and present needs of many communities who were the victims of colonial oppression, postcolonial neglect, misguided leaders and past abuses of some national leaders while preparing for the viability of longer term and mutually agreed upon solutions to the Bangsamoro problem.

5.   The proposal works on the premise that the form of government that should be entrenched should be able to deliver good and effective governance, social services and foster economic development within the soonest possible time.

6.  The proposal shows government’s awareness of the extent of the legal and political powers of the President.  However, it is also a political document that is intended to cause public discussion that can support future debates, when it becomes necessary, in other constitutional forums such as the legislature and the courts.

7.  The proposal recognizes the identity of the Bangsamoro and its history. This proposal takes this history into consideration but avoids simplification of the solutions for a complex and myriad problem.  The Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) may have been a failed experiment in the past; but the current proposal is based on a more balanced understanding of whether its past failure was due to its structure and the systems that it spawned or the quality of the past national or regional leadership. This proposal presents the possibility of a more empowered, more workable, and thus, more genuine autonomy of a Bangsamoro region.

8.  The proposal continues a discussion on how revenue and the use of resources could ensure enhance autonomy.  However, it also introduces the idea that ecological and cultural diaspora as a result of unbridled exploitation of resources have effects far beyond political boundaries.  The proposal therefore includes a system of cooperation between the national and regional government to ensure sustainable futures.

9.  The proposal starts a discussion on the process of normalization.  This includes weapons disposal, disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation of combatants.  It also includes processes to achieve restorative justice.

10.  The proposal is founded on the belief that legal reforms do not by themselves bring about social change.  Rather, this proposal proceeds from the fundamental faith that no legal reform can take root without genuine public consensus.

11.  The proposal seeks to correct our historical narratives so that it truly acknowledges the struggles of all Filipinos including those with ascribed Bangsamoro identity.  It believes that the various struggles of each group of people within our State contribute to the latter’s strength.  The proposal seeks to entrench the retelling of our true historical narratives across all generations through existing mechanisms within the powers of government.

 

SEE:

MINDA NEWS: “Heaven and Earth,” says MILF on GPH proposal; “Not too far apart,” says GPH

MILF REJECTS AUTONOMY PROPOSAL

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