Peace in our time?

Update: Well, well, well: SC stops MOA signing. Interesting because before the Supremes’ intervention was even reported, Ding Gagelonia was reporting MILF Sets Ancestral Domain Pact Signing on August 25, Not Tomorrow in his blog!

Without any explanation the Moro Islamic Liberation Fron is reporting on its web site, luwaran.com, that the controversial signing of what it says “is considered as the most significant and historic event that ever happened in the annals of the 11-year old GRP-MILF Peace Talks” is being held on August 25 and not tomorrow as earlier announced by Malacanang.

The MILF report goes on to say that “in term (sic) of significance, the MILF views this signing ceremony as at par with the signing of the Tripoli Agreement of 2001 in Tripoli, Libya.”

“Composing the MILF delegation are: 1) MILF Peace Panel; 2) Secretariat; 3) Technical Committee, whose membership were former members of the MILF Technical Working Group (TWG); 4) Back Staff of the MILF Peace Panel; and 5) representatives of MILF-nominated NGOs.

The group which originally broke away from Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front also says it has “sent some 50 persons including its peace panel, secretariat, technical committee, and representatives of its nominated non-government organizations (NGOs) to the formal signing ceremony of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) in Putrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia August 25.”

This unexplained postponement comes in the face of mounting opposition to the agreement which, although it is being downplayed by Malacanang, is also being challenged in thre Supreme Court and non-Muslim officials, among them Malacanang ally, North Cotabato vice governer Manny Pinol.

***

Last Thursday, my column, An undemocratic decorum , focused on the glitterati who inspired public revulsion during the President’s State of the Nation Address.

But the essential starting point is a remarkable entry in his blog by Jove Francisco, who provided background information on the preparation of the President’s speech, including some points that were dropped at the last minute: and how those preparations belied the Palace’s claims that it had merely shrugged off the devastating survey results released on the eve of the President’s address. The decision to focus on a catalog of achievements was a conscious effort to reclaim public opinion (he also has an intriguing portion on how the Palace may have commissioned its own survey in order to prop up Joseph Estrada as a straw man to help propel Charter Change: it reminds me of this diary entry by Ferdinand Marcos).

He also blogged that the President’s people all assumed a discreet go-ahead for constitutional amendments had been given (former Chief Justice Panganiban in recent columns discussed how such a change is neither constitutionally or legally impossible nor politically insurmountable):

As previously announced by the officials of the Presidential Management Staff, there will be no mention of Charter Change.

But conversations with sources from the political scene confirmed that Chacha may not have been heard in the halls of congress during the SONA, but it sure is being talked about by those concerned, “yun nga lang ay pabulong pa”.

Secretary Dureza, when I asked him about the President’s Mindanao plan, was evasive but, old pro that he is, immediately countered by saying the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process would be reporting to the House, but he probably knew by then that the real news would that House panel approves ARMM poll suspension.

Since then, of course, and rapidly (though Reuters reported about it on July 16, see Philippines, Muslim rebels reach deal on homeland), since the story has basically unfolded in about a week, the public has come to realize that it has very little time to grasp the full implications of the President’s comments on Mindanao and the peace deal with the MILF. While we don’t know whether the pros or cons did the leaking, details of the proposed agreement began to be reported over the weekend: Bangsomoro to get own state: Gov’t, MILF to sign ancestral domain pact Tuesday.

Public opinion, this early on, is divided -and even heated. It reminds me of this:

At first hailed as a conquering hero, by the outbreak of World War II, Neville Chamberlain was despised as an appeaser and Appeasement has been our political vocabulary as a negative thing since. In recent decades, though, historians have taken to proposing that what Chamberlain did was buy time, so that Britain could better rearm for the inevitable confrontation with Germany. In our case, the question is whether the public believes a peace deal with the MILF is in the national interest or not. Certain provinces tried to intervene in the Supreme Court, but the government told the Supreme Court the contents of the deal are covered by executive privilege. See SC starts deliberations on appeal vs MOA:

Shortly after the high court started its session, government, through Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera, sent its comment to the petition filed by officials of North Cotabato province, asking the high court to dismiss their appeal for a disclosure of the contents of the MOA, Marquez said.

Marquez said the high court gave the government until 12 noon Monday to submit its document, which arrived shortly after the high court began its deliberations.

By invoking executive privilege, in its 26-page comment, the government said while negotiations with the MILF did not involve any foreign power, there were military and national concerns raised.

“This being so, the entire process, the negotiations involving the said MOA and the drafts, documents thereof resulting from said negotiations is covered by the doctrine of executive privilege, which prevents the disclosure of information that could subvert military or diplomatic objectives,” the solicitor general said.

But then again the draft of the agreement is already available on line. See the full text of the RP-MILF draft pact on Bangsamoro homeland. As for the agreement itself, two entries in Mon Casiple’s blog cover all the controversial bases in the agreement. See MILF decoy for cha-cha and Disturbing BJE questions. As it is, Casiple provides a chart put together by Bong Montesa, part of the government’s negotiating team, and so it’s safe to assume the chart is authoritative, and puts forward the official game plan (in his blog, colleague John Nery thinks the President is not giving out marching orders, but rather, making an appeal):

peace-is-possible-timeline2001.jpg

Now what, exactly, does the game plan cover, in terms of territory? first, let’s begin with this Wikipedia map, which shows the present ARMM in Green:

800px-Mindanao_regions.PNG

Then let’s refer to this:

BJE.jpg

The image above is taken from ABS-CBN’s scan of the draft agreement, and shows the areas proposed for inclusion in the expanded ARMM which would then constitute the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. You will notice that the areas in black, the areas where the government commits to holding a plebiscite, correspond pretty much, to these 19th Century maps of the old Sultanate of Sulu (from the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection)..

There is this German map from 1859, note the demarcation line for Spanish-controlled areas of the Philippines:

political_control_german_view_1859.jpg

Another map from the same year shows the demarcation line more clearly:

jedo_bay_1858.jpg

Another map this one, which is from an 1892 American encyclopedia map, also retains the basic delineation between areas under direct Spanish control and the territory of the old Sultanate of Sulu (in yellow):

asia_1892_amer_ency_brit.jpg

These maps cover a period that, based on one timeline put forward by , circumscribed the authority of the Sultan of Sulu and established the area as a Spanish protectorate:

March.1877 – The Sulu Protocol was signed between Spain, England, and Germany that recognized Spain’s rights over Sulu and, in consideration for the said lease of North Borneo, ended European hostilities in the area

July 22, 1878 – Sultan Jamal ul-Alam signed a treaty with the Spanish Crown making whole of Sulu a protectorate of Spain yet retained her autonomy and the privilege to fly own flag thus saved Jolo from further destruction.

1883 – Manila Spanish government established a customs house in Ciudad de Zamboanga to clear goods coming into the Sultanate of Sulu but, on the insistence of the British, Jolo was declared a free port and trade continued.

After which, of course, took place American efforts, by treaty and conquest, to establish American sovereignty over the Sultanate. That in itself calls for a separate, future entry, as it’s the American conquest of the old Sultanate of Sulu that leads, in turn, to the question of the Republic’s sovereignty over Muslim areas in Mindanao.

But for now, this blog entry in stuart-santiago, asks why should it even be that outright independence for Muslim areas isn’t a widely-acceptable option. To her, it is.

As for myself, my contention today is that The agreement itself is the prize. It does not matter if the whole thing doesn’t take off, what matters to the MILF is getting the government representatives to formally sign the memorandum. The Warrior Lawyer also seems to think so, tooL but says the agreement is a recipe for bloodshed. See a view from Davao in Alleba Politics:

I, among many here Mindanao, have been seeking out for the restoration of peace in the island.

My Muslim friend is optimistic that the agreement can bring peace to Mindanao, but he also fears it might lead to war. For one, he questions the sole representation of the entire Muslim population by MILF.

This MoA, I fear, reeks of insincerity, a strong decisive political move with many repercussions. I do not want to wait and see how it plays out because too many lives have been lost. And in the process, it has all become military and political. What our Muslim brothers want and need, in my opinion, cannot be simply answered by such military and political solutions.

A hawkish response, including a reproduction of Tony Abaya’s column quoting Bobi Tiglao’s visit to the MILF’s base of operations in the 1990s, appears in Tatay Pepes Restobar in General Santos City, Philippines. The announcement by the MILF that the agreement will be signed on August 25, also makes for interesting reading, giving a glimpse of those it considers its enemies.

221 comments

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    • Jeg on August 4, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    From what I gather, it seems that the answer as to why outright independence for Muslim Mindanao is not an option is that the northerners think that Mindanao couldnt govern themselves and therefore need the enlightened leadership of their northern brethren (HAH!). I dont know how true that is but it’s easy to surmise that once the northern tribes’ armies withdraw from the south, the MILF will be engaged in an armed power struggle with the MNLF unless they get their acts together and form a secular government wherein the rights of the Christians and others are not only respected, but protected. I think any treaty that would grant self-determination to the south has to insist on this as a prerequisite in some sort of commonwealth transition period before granting independence in 20 years or something. Like the Yanks did to its colony.

    The other reason outright independence for Mindanao is not a popular option is because of the northeners’ belief that we have rights to Mindanao’s resources. Everything flows north, while large areas of the south remain poor.

  1. Jess Dureza really is a joke. Him and the US Institute of Peace that has been pushing the whole “Moro homeland” concept as a solution to Mindanao. To me it is completely unworkable and is a deluded attempt to reverse the irredeemable consequences of history. These people are bumping up against the reality of self-determination. Not even the Bangsamoro people want to be a part of their solution, which is really a recipe for unending war and insurgency by making land a perpetual apple of discord.

    It’s as silly as some black civil rights radicals who wanted the Negroes to set up a homeland in Alabama or Mississipi.

    It’s time for Filipinos to look to the status quo as the real solution! Christians, Muslims, Lumads –as Filipinos– must make democracy work. We have given in to the Constantinoesque fantasy of trying to change history after the fact. It may be ideologically satisfying, but it ignores the reality that has overtaken everybody,

    Even if injustices have been done, they have been done in equal measure to all Filipinos. The idea of making the Christians pay for the sins of the colonialists by giving to those who supposedly resisted the Spanish some special right to “private ancestral property” that “never fell into the public domain” — this is just too perverse an idea to be made real.

    And to try to make a homeland out of such ancestral domain as a form of expiation for those sins—it’s just the special delusion of Jess Dureza.

    Whatever pound of flesh is owed as some kind of historical debt, it is owed to the entire body politic and cannot be collected on behalf of one particular indigenous people without destroying it.

    It is time to question the basic premises of how we think peace ought to be achieved in Mindanao.

    • PSI on August 4, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Again, the country has been brought to edge.

    This is what happens when you put a retired general as your peace negotiator. The adage ‘they know war, that’s why they could talk peace’ does not always apply.

    Military men are used to ‘project’ approach in doing things, to attaining a target or objective ASAP. To finishing the enemy once and for all. In the process, historical perspective is lost.

    Sometimes, form is more important than substance. In diplomacy, creating delays in negotiations are in themselves substantive matters.

    • KG on August 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    own update:
    just happen to be on the same table with one senator during lunch.
    he left the hearing asking esperon and Garcia not to assume too much, and what would the plebiscite be about,etc. etc.
    senator Gordon continued with his line of questioning.That’s all after that, I ate and ran(and excused myself.)Don’t want too much information.

    • cvj on August 4, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Manolo, you previously suggested having the Muslim areas of Mindanao merge with Indonesia in exchange for the Christian areas of Indonesia being incorporated with the Philippines. Are you still in favor of such an arrangement?

    • mlq3 on August 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    cjv, i’m in favor of radical breakthrough proposals, including in a sense, calling the bluff of some separatist groups by stating we’re willing to consider outright independence.

    • UP n student on August 4, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Can it really be that this MOA is just “consuelo-de-bobo” and a practically worthless piece of paper? Bernas says :
    … the MoA “doesn’t mean anything” until Congress acts on it and a plebiscite is held in the more than 700 villages envisioned for inclusion in the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

    “Any change in the ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] or [its] territory has to go through Congress and a plebiscite,” . . . . “But legally, there is nothing to it,” he said. “There is nothing to implement. [The negotiating parties] cannot move without Congress.”


    Satur Ocampo and a few others should realy start looking at the MOA as a Filipino nation issue. Satur’s statement :

    a peace accord with the MILF “to pave the way for Charter change that will perpetuate Ms Arroyo’s continued stay in power beyond 2010

    • Bert on August 4, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    walk, run, skip, hop, tumble, smile, laugh, cry, anything. do what you want in mindanao. if it’s good for the country.

    but, please, don’t do the CHA-CHA. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

    MAGKAKASUBUKAN TAYO!

    • BrianB on August 4, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    GMA wagging the dog (a rabid pitbull this time).

    • mlq3 on August 4, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Brikmanship? From Marietta Goco, supposedly this SMS sent by Vice-Gove. Pinol: “My beloved people. 2nite I was told by a top govt official that if our opposition 2b included in d ARMM will result in MILF attacks.d Armed Forces wl not b able 2 help us all out bcos that is d policy of this govt. If this is d case we hav 2defend ourslvs. Let us be brave &stand firm. God is with us. Pls pass & pray.”

    • UP n student on August 4, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Inquirer reports : Kabalu said he could not predict the reaction of MILF ground commanders to the court’s decision. . . .

    “I cannot say how big or how deep it is, but this is a setback,” Kabalu said in a phone interview. “But we are committed to a peaceful resolution not withstanding the TRO” . . . . Asked how this development would affect the security situation in Mindanao, Kabalu said: “Hindi natin masabing meron, hindi natin masabing wala [We can’t say whether or not there will be an effect] . . . . .”

    —-
    Some times, one gets the impression that there are cases in Pinas (see purported text message from Gov Pinol) where private armies make sense.

    • cvj on August 4, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    mlq3 (at at 6:47 pm), thanks for the clarification.

    Re: (what you said at 7:41 pm), not to diminish the gravity of the situation but to me, the desired impact of Vice-Governor Pinol’s call to arms is mitigated by his use of text message lingo.

    • manuelbuencamino on August 4, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    No part of the Philippines is for Gloria Arroyo to give away.

    • UP n student on August 4, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    The MILF, who in prior broadcasts have said they don’t guarantee the actions of their soldiers (but won’t bring them to justice, either) (subject: beheading of Philippine Marines), now says :


    DAVAO CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has called on the people of Mindanao to promote trust, understanding, and cooperation and not hatred and mistrust.

    This call came after several local chief executives expressed strong opposition to the signing of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) between the MILF and the National Government.

    Muhammad Ameen, chairperson of the MILF secretariat, was reacting to the statement of North Cotabato Vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol over the radio recently, which was said to be “very divisive and full of malice.”

    http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2008/08/04/milf.to.mindanaoans.build.on.trust..html

    • Flisha on August 4, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    “cjv, i’m in favor of radical breakthrough proposals, including in a sense, calling the bluff of some separatist groups by stating we’re willing to consider outright independence.”

    What, and throw the innocents of Mindanao to the wolves? It’s easy to think of signing away Mindanao when you’re not part of Mindanao yourself. Think, for a moment, of the terrified Christians and moderate Muslims who form the larger part of Mindanao than terrorist MILFs. It seems our opinion matters little in this power struggle, yet it is our lives at stake.

    • UP n student on August 4, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    And as early as July 19/2008, the MILF had responded to requests by Pinol for copies of the Memorandum of Agreement.

    July 19, 2008

    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has told North Cotabato Vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol to wait for the formal signing of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) by government and MILF peace negotiators late this month or early next month and he will be given a copy of the document.

    “It is a waste of people’s money and effort that you go to the Supreme Court in Manila just to compel the government to divulge the content of the MOA-AD to you. We will give you a copy as soon as it is signed. Just don’t be in haste.”

    . . . .

    Musa said the MOA-AD is not a secret document after the
    Parties sign it and it will be divulged to the public.

    http://www.luwaran.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=790

    • mlq3 on August 4, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    fisha, you’re welcome to go over every entry in this blog since it started in 2004 and everything iv’e written since 1994, and swee where i ever advocated ignoring the views and interests of mindanao residents.

    but in negotiating with muslim filipinos one has to bear in mind the experiences of other countries, where sometimes partition was the only solution the muslims would ever accept. thgat is a possibility it would irresponsible not to consider.

    just as we have to take stock and see if our negotiations might succeed better if we see if the other side is bluffing and risk calling their bluff.

    all this assumes of course our government in negotiating, represents us, both as an entire nation and also without signing away the future of mindanawons without their being consulted.

    • UP n student on August 4, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Here is a technical question on the plebiscite.

    Is inclusion-by-plebiscite on a baranggay-by-baranggay basis?

    What happens if 60% or more of voters for baranggay-XYZ of Zamboanga-city says “NO” to inclusion, while 54% of all who voted in the plebiscite says “YES”?

    “Tyranny of the majority”???

    • cvj on August 4, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    UPn, i’m curious as to the way you phrased your question. Does it mean that it’s tyranny of the majority only if you don’t like the outcome?

    • vic on August 5, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Here is what the peace Negotiators on both sides should have done before the Ancestral Domain was expanded or being contemplated..ask them by means of any form of consultation, plebiscite, referendum if they are giving authority to the MILF to negotiate on their behalf, and then a final consultation with all the country’s citizens…

    Does anyone have any idea how many political groups interested in controlling the sovereign Bangsa Moro??…now if the goal of the National Government is to shift the fighting between between them, like Palestines, it may have realized that Goal, But at what Price!!!

    • UP n student on August 5, 2008 at 12:21 am

    cvj: the other tyranny will be when (IF???) the Philippine congress says “NO”. [I’m assuming that Bernas is correct that without an enabling law, any MoA is pffffhhttt useless.]

    Now, you lead me to believe, by the way you commented on the way I phrased my question, that you do not know the answer to my question — Is inclusion-by-plebiscite on a baranggay-by-baranggay basis?

    • PSI on August 5, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Vice Governor Pinol used to be a journalist/reporter under Secretary Dureza in one of the Mindanao newspapers (or radio stations?). Dureza kept pounding: never take a story in its face value. Obtain all the facts and background information.

    Now comes this MOA with MILF. Mister Pinol is asking all the right questions.

    Talk of the mentee doubting his mentor.

    • cvj on August 5, 2008 at 12:38 am

    UPn, you’re right on that, i’m not exactly a member of GMA’s inner circle. Maybe Bencard will know better.

    • cvj on August 5, 2008 at 12:50 am

    At least the COMELEC will help ensure that any Plebiscite will be clean and honest. so as to reflect the will of the Mindanaoans. Oh wait….

    • anthony scalia on August 5, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Bert,

    “but, please, don’t do the CHA-CHA. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!”

    cha cha yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

    “MAGKAKASUBUKAN TAYO!”

    tagal

    • anthony scalia on August 5, 2008 at 1:05 am

    UP n,

    “Is inclusion-by-plebiscite on a baranggay-by-baranggay basis?”

    depends on the enabling law

    • UP n student on August 5, 2008 at 1:13 am

    The answer to my question (if NewsBreak Online can be believed) is :

    government negotiators have stressed that residents of villages who do not want to be part of an expanded ARMM should simply say ‘no’ in the plebiscite.

    I assume “villages” is the same as “baranggay”.

    And to the question — what if the MILF still covets more land-area/baranggays???? does “NO”-now mean “NO”-forever —- the NewsBreak article also says:

    More areas in Mindanao that will be provided with “affirmative” socio-economic and cultural assistance may be added to the new Moro homeland in a plebiscite that will be held “not earlier than 25 years” from the signing of the final peace agreement.

    The of-course-it-is-Fair!!!! agreement seems to NOT have a process on how a baranggay that gets “included-now” can elect to secede from BJE, say, 4 years later.

    • cvj on August 5, 2008 at 1:31 am

    From Billy Esposo on the USA’s role:

    You see, we lose more if we don’t know the real score between the US and GMA deal that led to this development. Losing a piece of territory that we are not willing to really fight for or ready to fight for is nothing compared to awakening the Filipino nation to the reality that has led this country to this situation of economic stagnation and a democracy that never grew. This is the reality of the foreign domination that has stunted our nation since 1521 and continues to this day…

    The US agenda to secure the vital South China Sea shipping lanes is served by the creation of an independent Moro state where the US acts as its protector. This allows the US to skirt the provisions of the Vladivostok Accord (which ended the Cold War) where the US pledged to dismantle their bases here while the Russians lifted the Iron Curtain in Europe.

    We’re about to find out whether Esposo’s conjecture has merit.

    • cvj on August 5, 2008 at 1:37 am

    From Billy Esposo on the USA’s role:

    You see, we lose more if we don’t know the real score between the US and GMA deal that led to this development. Losing a piece of territory that we are not willing to really fight for or ready to fight for is nothing compared to awakening the Filipino nation to the reality that has led this country to this situation of economic stagnation and a democracy that never grew. This is the reality of the foreign domination that has stunted our nation since 1521 and continues to this day…

    The US agenda to secure the vital South China Sea shipping lanes is served by the creation of an independent Moro state where the US acts as its protector. This allows the US to skirt the provisions of the Vladivostok Accord (which ended the Cold War) where the US pledged to dismantle their bases here while the Russians lifted the Iron Curtain in Europe.

    We’re about to find out whether Esposo’s conjecture has merit…

    • Bert on August 5, 2008 at 1:37 am

    “cha cha yes yes yes yes yes yes yes”-anthony scalia

    cvj, ako, hindi na ako naniniwala ngayon na members sila ng GMA inner circle, medyo nakakaduda lang.

    • UP n student on August 5, 2008 at 1:59 am

    cvj: the “Esposo thesis” brings up another question.

    What if BangsaMoro leases to China 2,400 hectares of Palawan “ancestral domain territory” in exchange for US$36-million-a-month lease payments plus 40 YW 531 (or WZ523) Armored Personnel Carriers, 300 mortars and 12,800 AK47’s …… does Govt-of-Philippines get 25%?

    • PSI on August 5, 2008 at 2:00 am

    This guy Billy Esposo is such a Cold Warrior.

    The U.S. does not need another base in the area with their Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carriers. The U.S. Air Force’s new strategy is “Presence not Permanence.”

    And another theater of conflict is an overstretch . They’ve got unfinished business in Afghanistan and Iraq. The priority is how to base in Central Asia.

    • justice league on August 5, 2008 at 2:24 am

    UPN,

    I remember the Concom’s recommendation on Federalism in the past ChaCha attempt.

    The proposed provision in their Transitory provisions stated
    ” Section 15-Within one year and after at least sixty percent of the provinces, highly urbanized cities and component cities of the country shall have joined
    in the creation of different autonomous territories,
    upon petition of majority of such autonomous
    territories through their respective regional assemblies, the Parliament shall enact the basic
    law for the establishment of a Federal Republic of
    the Philippines, whereby the autonomous
    territories shall become federal states.”

    If one scrutinizes it enough, one would realize that it would take a ridiculously low % to achieve what the proponents wanted.

    That is how sneaky some people can get when making the “law”.

    BTW just a point to ponder, if it is indeed Barangay by Barangay or village by village; what is going to happen to those that say “NO” but still get landlocked within the BJE?

    What province are such going to belong to?

    And at any rate I feel American supposed interest in an independent Moro State is still a stone to self’s head scenario.

    • d0d0ng on August 5, 2008 at 2:25 am

    This is the most brilliant work of President Arroyo to-date. The best defense is offense. Both the co-equal branch of the government are scratching their heads how to deal with the MOA-AD.

    At stake is legislature law making power is curb with BJE as it applies to areas under BJE. Congressmen and Senators will be the losers.

    On the other hand, Supreme Court will have expanded role on new Bangsamoro court that will adjudicate Bangsamoro people’s rights, property rights, religious and cultural liberties.

    The Palace will have the 25% of revenue collections plus the loophole on power sharing if upheld by Supreme Court.

    • d0d0ng on August 5, 2008 at 2:39 am

    This is the subtlest and most creative plan of state under a state without breaking up the constitution and better upgrade from the ARMM autonomy – with its own military force, BJE court, BJE government, BJE revenue.

    • PSI on August 5, 2008 at 2:50 am

    Talking of Peace in our Time:

    This could well be a Game of the Generals, which the civilan leadership were unknowingly co-opted to play.

    Let’s face it , military men are Machiavellian creatures. It could be that a raw deal was prepared by the hawks disguised as peaceniks knowing that it will not be acceptable and lead to another war in Mindanao.

    More like War Dance! Again.

    • supremo on August 5, 2008 at 3:01 am

    ‘The of-course-it-is-Fair!!!! agreement seems to NOT have a process on how a baranggay that gets “included-now” can elect to secede from BJE, say, 4 years later.’

    That is the problem with the MOA. It only talks about ‘inclusion’ into the BJE. What if a baranggay says NO? Is that final or there will be more plebiscite until that baranggay says YES?

    As I said in a previous thread, the solution is NOT to create ONE autonomous region. Abolish all provinces in Mindanao and declare all cities and towns as autonomous communities. If these autonomous communities want to merge later to form a bigger autonomous region then let them do it. Forcing everyone to be under the control of the BJE at the beginning is asking for trouble.

    • d0d0ng on August 5, 2008 at 3:01 am

    The MOA-AD is superior to Federal form of government because of the following:
    1. Majority rule is overcome. Filipino voters outside BJE will not have any voice on BJE.
    2. BJE will have fresh revenues without apportioned loans of national government.
    3. House and Senate are cut from the law making process.

    • supremo on August 5, 2008 at 3:43 am

    dOdOng,

    What about these?

    1. Majority rule is overcome. Inhabitants inside the BJE will not have any voice on BJE.
    2. BJE/MILF will have fresh revenues.
    3. Inhabitants inside the BJE are cut from the law making process.

    • grd on August 5, 2008 at 4:04 am

    And at any rate I feel American supposed interest in an independent Moro State is still a stone to self’s head scenario… JL

    hi justice,

    I think some people’s minds are clouded with so many things. father Bernas have said it. the MoA doesn’t mean anything. it’s not for Gloria to give away lands. any deal has to go through congress. no enabling law and plebiscite, no BJE. this is good for media consumption only.

    • supremo on August 5, 2008 at 4:12 am

    dOdOng,

    ‘breaking up the constitution’

    You skipped the part of the MOA about AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION.

    • supremo on August 5, 2008 at 4:58 am

    Bernas says :
    … the MoA “doesn’t mean anything” until Congress acts on it and a plebiscite is held in the more than 700 villages envisioned for inclusion in the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

    Bernas probably forgot the Tripoli Agreement with the MNLF. That agreement became the basis for succeeding peace negotiations. The MNLF always insisted on it. The Ramos administration was not able to wiggle out of it. The MOA with the MILF will have the same effect on future negotiations. The hands of future administrations will be tied if it is signed.

    • d0d0ng on August 5, 2008 at 5:51 am

    “The hands of future administrations will be tied if it is signed.”

    There you go. Unless the Supreme Court will invalidate the MOA-AD. So far, the President is ahead of the game using her executive privilege to stop any opposition to the MOA-AD.

    • d0d0ng on August 5, 2008 at 6:32 am

    The momentum right now is with the MOA-AD. The current opposition are holders of regional power in the area who will become losers. However, MILF knew that having 75% of the revenue is too big to pass up for any political warlords in the south. Change of hands is inevitable.

    The senate is unfortunately silent on the issue, it does not know where to start in a kind of President’s fog of war. Everybody knew ChaCha is dead with the Senate holding its ranks against it. However with MOA-AD under executive privilege, the Senate is off limit. It is also understood that the rest of regional governments are at huge disadvantage especially at 75% revenue that BJE will enjoy. This will open up new grounds to change the charter for the rest of the country. When that happens in the next 2 years which is highly possible with Palace awash with 12% VAT cash at its disposition, the President will be the beneficiary under a change of term.

    • leytenian on August 5, 2008 at 7:22 am

    The way I look at it on MOA-AD is to buy time at the moment. A memorandum has to go thru democratic process in line with what we have in our Constitution.

    “There is no surrender of territory here. That is why we are providing for a plebiscite, which is consulting the people if we have to put some additional geographic areas into what is now the ARMM,” he told ANC’s Crossroads. “So, there’s no talk here of territory loss or sovereignty loss.”

    It’s not yet Final:
    “It is a preliminary document, together with the ceasefire arrangements, the rehabilitation and construction provisions, and now the MOA-AD. These are the preliminaries before we go to the formal peace talks,” he said.

    No property confiscation:
    No lands will be given to the Moslems, TITLES will be respected, licenses will be respected,” he said.

    No separate state:
    “There is one line which says that it cannot go against the Republic”

    Belligerency status:
    a status of belligerency, which is a STEP ( like a State or Federalism) closer to granting it international recognition as a separate and independent state. Mindanao peace agreement should be within the boundaries of the present Constitution.

    May lead to independence:
    the essence of the agreement on ancestral domain is not on the expansion of the Moro homeland but on its concept.
    Mercado said the MOA is not just a “symbolic recognition” of the Moro people and state but “a real recognition.”
    That entitles the Bangsamoro to a self-declaration [of independence]. Because it’s all there: you’ve been recognized, you have territory, you have self-determination, your ancestral domain is your birthright, it’s not part of the public domain.”

    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/topofthehour.aspx?StoryId=127241

    • leytenian on August 5, 2008 at 7:49 am

    This is the toughest area and the most challenging location to manage. The rest of Mindanao and the Visayan Islands will not take 18 months but only 6 months to CHACHA. It makes sense to concentrate on BJE.. The concept of Federalism is now being implemented by way of memorandum. The peace process will open investors confident. The bangsamoro people will require lots of time and guidance to be like Davao, Cebu, Bohol and become a city. Why worry? If BJE turns the other way…. you know we have the US to back us up.
    If one is worried on “breaking up” then one should advertise : I will buy your land CASH….
    I can guarantee , the rest of Bangsamoro who are poor and need cash will probably sell their ANCESTRAL land.
    Eminent power domain is considered unjust if such power is not for the reason of doing business with employment to local people.
    Give the Ancestral land back to these people. Give them the freedom to sell , to cultivate their own land and to live with it peacefully. Intimidation is not good for peace.
    How would you feel if your grandfather’s ancestral land is taken away from you. What would you do? This is not just about Bangsamoro.. this is about legal title.

    • leytenian on August 5, 2008 at 8:04 am

    If for example: Ka Abu Sayyaf owns 2000 hectares of ancestral land but has not been paying property taxes to the government for over 10 years , then our constitution has room for negotiations. The rule of LAW. . Laws of paying property tax according to its highest and best use.

    • KG on August 5, 2008 at 8:06 am

    This is what happens when you put a retired general as your peace negotiator. The adage ‘they know war, that’s why they could talk peace’ does not always apply.

    Military men are used to ‘project’ approach in doing things, to attaining a target or objective ASAP. To finishing the enemy once and for all. In the process, historical perspective is lost.

    Sometimes, form is more important than substance. In diplomacy, creating delays in negotiations are in themselves substantive matters.

    .
    I have to agree,Did you know that Esperon already displayed his Pert/CPM in the hearing ;me time table na; he placed the cart before the horse sa senate committee,that hearing only stopped when it was learned in the news about the developments in the supreme court.
    I watched the evening news and sabi galing daw malaysia si esperon, jet setter pala sya ah Tanghali nandito tapos sa gabi sinabi kadarating lang galing Malaysia.

    There were media personnel present but that hearing was not televised.No news about it except the impeacheable stuff na di ko alam kung bakit pa ginawang footnote sa news reporting.

    I also attended the hearing on Soldier’scombat pay,importante din ito pero wala namang media kung meron iisa
    naglagay ng tape recorder tapos me sticker kung ano channel sabay labas.inaaabangan kasi baka me controversial sa hearing with the peace pannel.

    .

    • justice league on August 5, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Grd,

    Hello.

    Well Eid Kabalu’s statement makes one wonder how the MILF markets this agreement to their own people who have guns, explosives, etc…

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