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We never learn

As the facts continue to unfold on the brutal killing of the SAF 44, I find it more and more difficult to understand so many issues surrounding the stubborn and obsessive attempt of this government to attain peace in Muslim Mindanao. No Filipino perhaps opposes the quest for peace started by this administration. We are, after all, peace loving people. But there are so many aspects in the on-going peace process which are quite perplexing and raise doubts on whether we can finally have true peace in that part of our country.

It is really difficult to understand why this government continues to talk with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) when it has unabashedly and openly admitted that its forces were the ones who savagely massacred the government’s Special Action Force commandos trying to arrest an international terrorist hiding in a Philippine territory. More confounding in this regard is that MILF was even assisted by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) the very splinter group that broke away from it precisely because of disagreement on the terms of the peace agreement. The BIFF wants a separate Islamic State under the Sharia law.

It is also quite hard to understand why this government still trusts that the MILF will faithfully comply with the peace accord when it has even defiantly refused to surrender its members who perpetrated the inhuman and bestial acts on the SAF 44. If, at this stage, this group has already put up stumbling blocks to the attainment of justice for our fallen heroes and their families, it is already quite clear that the peace to be achieved with this group will be a sham. For without justice there can be no true peace.

More difficult to understand in this connection is the government peace panel’s efforts to take up the cudgels for the MILF up to the extent of overlooking or refusing to see its belligerent and defiant attitude. And more confounding here is that our peace panel, particularly Ferrer and Deles, appear to be supporting and siding with the MILF and trying very hard to appease them amidst the growing public outrage over what their forces have done to our law enforcers operating within Philippine territory. People cannot help but see traces of treason in this kind of reaction.

Another perplexing stance of this government is its unrelenting attempt to push for the passage of the constitutionally flawed Bangsamoro Basic  Law (BBL) up to the extent of setting a deadline for Congress to enact it. More puzzling here is that it has kept quiet with respect to the aggressive demand of the MILF to pass the BBL without amending or correcting some of its provisions that are clearly unconstitutional. Such attitude clearly appears as acquiescence to the MILF demand and an endorsement of the BBL without any correction.

But what makes the unfolding developments on the BBL more difficult to comprehend is the veiled threat of Iqbal, the head of MILF peace panel, that they cannot control their men in waging an all out war if the BBL will not be approved by Congress as is. This is clearly a form of coercion by one party over the other when both are supposed to be on equal footing.

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Aggravating the problem about the BBL is that it was drafted by a National Transition Council outside of the Philippines, without any public hearing and under the auspices of Malaysia. It seems that our country is already negotiating peace with another independent State in the presence of a Third Party State acting as mediator. The term “Bangsamoro” itself already connotes the existence of a separate and independent State in that part of Mindanao. “Bangsa” is a derivative of the tagalong word “Bansa” which is “country” or “state” in English. In fact in the BBL, the MILF will already have its own Commission on Audit (COA), Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

What is gradually becoming clearer at this stage is that the BBL and the other documents accompanying the peace treaty signed by the MILF and the peace panel solely formed by Malacanang, are mainly intended to lay the groundwork for the eventual establishment of a separate Muslim State that will be carved out of Mindanao. And this will arise because of this administration’s obsession to give as its alleged legacy and to present as one of its greatest achievements, the attainment of peace in Mindanao after centuries of armed conflict; never mind if it is perceived as weak and fearful of the threats hurled by the MILF whose actions and statements clearly indicate that it cannot be trusted.

In this connection, let me just cite the words of Retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno about this on-going peace settlement with the MILF. For once perhaps P-Noy and his cohorts should listen and heed his call. He said:

“I do not understand why it seems that we are the ones who are scared and negotiating from a position of weakness. We are the State. If this will lead to war, if this is the price for defending the Constitution and preventing the dismemberment of the Republic, so be it.”

Indeed P-Noy and his government’s position in negotiating this peace with MILF has even resulted in the emergence of another radical terror group that broke away from the BIFF, known as the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM). They are anticipating that the MILF will also succeed in its mission of forging peace with this government where it will be allocated billions of pesos to spend like what was given to the MNLF by virtue of an earlier peace treaty that has now been violated. When will we ever learn?

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Email: attyjosesison@gmail.com





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