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WAR IN MINDANAO?

August 4, 2008

The smell of war in Mindanao is intensifying by the hour as the signing of the MOA on peace with the MILF draws near.  Opposition is only now beginning to gather forces with increasing vehemence at the late unraveling of the most contentious details.  I took time to read the MOA here and I must agree that indeed, as critics say, the necessary elements of an independent state are there.

Under Concepts and Principles, the Government (GRP) has given  its recognition of the Bangsamoro territorial…

…(o)wnership of the homeland… (as) vested exclusively in them by virtue of their prior rights of occupation that had inhered in them as sizable bodies of people, delimited by their ancestors since time immemorial, and being the first politically organized dominant occupants. (emphasis mine)

As such, the government recognizes that (#6) the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity shall have authority and jurisdiction over these territories.

Since time immemorial— where do you draw the boundary line there?

Now, if the BJE is vested  a priori with this authority and jurisdiction over these areas, where in the equation do they intend to let in the national government?  Surely, if you grant me that recognition, I can choose to let you in or not, right?  See, while the word “independence” is painstakingly avoided, the whole section is unmistakably arguing for it, with the Government giving it assent.

Under Territory, I find this stipulation interesting for its implication:

d. Without derogating from the requirements of prior agreements, the government stipulates to conduct and deliver, within six (6) months following the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, a plebiscite covering the areas as enumerated… (emphasis mine)

Hmm, what does it mean “without derogating from the requirements of prior agreement”?  It does sound to me that result of the plebiscite should not derogate “from the requirements of prior agreements”,  else, the result of the plebiscite would be ignored.  It should have clearly stated that areas rejecting inclusion in a plebiscite would be automatically excluded territories and the Bangsamoro would recognize it so!

#4 provision under Resources is disturbing because it appears to be giving the BJE a status at par with the Republic of the Philippines: One, it can enter into economic and trade agreements by itself with other nations.  Second, it could by itself open trade missions in other countries.  and third, it must be represented in international meetings and negotiations.

#7 under Governance is telling:

7. The Parties agree that the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation of this MOA AD shall be spelt out in the comprehensive compact to mutually take such steps to enable it to occur effectively.

Any provisions of the MOA on Ancestral Domain requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon signing of a comprehensive compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the comprehensive compact. (emphasis mine)

Again, what does it mean “with due regard to non-derogation of prior agreements”?  It does sound that “prior agreements” are non-negotiable and legal changes must conform to these at all cost, or else…

This is not a formula for peace. This is a formula for trouble.

UPDATE: The Supreme Court issues TRO

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2008 5:55 pm

    long ago, when prof. jalal ud-din of up was still alive, he used to say, the problem of Muslims is that Christians have no tolerance for them. despite the fact that the Christians — mainly the spaniards, americans, et al, aided by quisling brothers of ours took away the ancestral lands of moros, they that are the ones without tolerance. the Muslims waited for their turn in the government’s campaign to return ancestral land to the tribal Filipinos. this effort began about 14 to 15 years ago and many tribes are now enjoying the fruit of their ancestral lands. except the Muslims. when we prophesize trouble, we are precisely echoing the sentiment of Prof. Jalal ud-din of high intolerance. but after robbing the Muslims of what they own and making them suffer for centuries, it will be the other way around? that we are at the receiving end of their intolerance? what if they ruled over the archipelago and we were the freaks in the minorities? i honestly don’t think we can really say what we are babbling about right now. even thewarriorlawyer.com agrees. i pray that you will too have better tolerance for our brother and sister Muslims… someday.

  2. HANG0VER permalink
    January 24, 2009 2:44 pm

    thnks… s info n bigay nyo.mppbilis ang gawa ko s assignment ko ni2^^

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