Congratulations to the MILF and, I suppose, the Administration for the recent peace agreement. The document calls for the establishment of an autonomous region, Bangsamoro, to replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The signing has been hailed as the first step in “a final and enduring peace”. The Camp David accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians was similarly described but let us be positive. As the cliche goes let us give peace a chance. What the world needs is love.
Having said this, one wonders what qualifies the MILF (membership: 11,000) to be an equal partner with the Republic (membership: 94 million) in dividing up Mindanao? All along we have been told they are a band of ruffians who behead our soldiers, murder innocents, and destroy property. Now we are jumping into bed with them. Should we not be dating first?
Not to worry, says Malacanang, the MILF will only be involved in the design phase. The final framework will still have to be agreed upon by the community in a plebiscite.
I would not be so dismissive. With their seat in the Transition Commission the MILF will mold the final terms and leadership of the new structure. So while the people have the final say, they will agree to whatever the Government and the MILF (and the money of the Muslim international donors) recommend. Who will tell them otherwise?
The Government (not the MILF) assures us the Bangsamoro will not become a separate Islamic state, that forces will not exploit the new modality to secretly build their finances, political base and military until they are ready to say goodbye. Other than their word, what guaranty do we have this will not happen and what will the Government do if it does?
I have no issue with Islam. It is an attractive religion: It is uncomplicated, it is not anti-RH, its leaders do not collect ivory nor young boys, and it allows for four wives. I also do not begrudge the Muslims’ longing for a home of their own. I just want to know how the rest of us can get the same deal.