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18 August 2011



     Contemplating the September 2, 1996 Peace Agreements, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have always emphasized on the establishment of the 23- provinces Bangsamoro Autonomous Government (BAG) as a point of reference in the complete implementation of the historical 1976 Tripoli Agreement in the on-going series of MNLF-OIC-GRP Ministerial Tripartite meetings. Philippine colonialism has been informed repeatedly of this non-negotiable vital issue. Thus, there is no way for the MNLF to accept the Cory Aquino regime-crafted Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the Arroyo regime-expanded ARMM as the correct implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement. Much more, this farcical political entity has only been transformed worldwide into a center of ridicule being the "cheating capital of Philippine elections", contributing also to the heinous crime committed in political history - the Maguindanao massacre.

    Although presently the bold gesture of President Benigno S. Aquino III meeting the MILF Chairman Hj. Murad Ebrahim in Japan only last August 4 is quite laudable for peace-making efforts, it is most surprising why suddenly the MILF abandoned the moral path to national self-determination and independence, opting now a "Bangsamoro sub-state" under the sovereignty of the Philippine government. Objectively, this is a far cry from the wisdom of the martyred MILF Chairman Al-Ustaj Salamat Hashim, who has earned the respect of the global freedom fighters vis-a-vis his unwavering struggle for a Bangsamoro Islamic independent state.

     Is this instant MILF turnaround brought upon by outside pressures, like Malaysia and America, whose sympathy for the oppressed and colonized Bangsamoro people is to perpetuate Philippine colonialism in Mindanao? Similarly, this was the position taken by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), when it pressured the MNLF to accept autonomy in 1974. Nonetheless, this never did end the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao.

     Now, what of the Bangsamoro sub-state proposed by the MILF to bring about the comprehensive solution to the Mindanao war? The critical Philippine media, which has always served the interest of Filipino colonizers in such an issue, have already shown negative attitude towards its success, undermining it a prelude to independence because it still contains the substance of the declared-unconstitutional Bangsamoro Judiciary Entity MOA on Ancestral Domain. On one hand, other sectors even doubted the move of President Aquino meeting the MILF Chairman as "ill-advised" and a "treason", losing track of the whole point that this done for the sake of Mindanao peace. That is if the Manila government is really serious and sincere to establish lasting peace in war-torn Mindanao.

     On the other hand, at this crucial point in Philippine and Bangsamoro history, the Moro people are in agreement with the assessment of the Filipino political analyst, Ramon Casiple, who in PDI said: "Aquino administration should quickly forge a peace deal with the MILF." But, he also "warned that "this 'bold gamble' of the President could turn sour: a final settlement with the MILF does not mean the end of the Moro story. You have to address the roots of rebellion. Otherwise, another group will eventually surface."

     Basic questions now arise, how do you address the roots of the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao? What is the root cause of the Mindanao problem? To the knowledgeable historians, they always have a categorical answer. The root cause of the problem is colonialism, which was introduced by the Spanish, American and Japanese colonizers, and inherited now by the Filipinos.

     How do you then address the root cause of the problem - Philippine colonialism - to establish permanent peace in war-torn Mindanao? This is now the problem facing President Aquino and all Filipino and Bangsamoro stakeholders.

- O.S.Miharbi 


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