New political entity, new aspiration
Describing the creation of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao a failure in settling armed conflict and unifying forces in the beleaguered south of the archipelago, the government of Pres. Noynoy has just forged a pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), paving the road to the creation a new political entity branded in the agreement as the “Bangsamoro. That being so the Palace is optimistic that the Bangsamoro entity will finally put an end to the decades old clamor and struggle of the MILF for a separate state. The President, however, stressed that the “national government will continue to exercise exclusive powers of defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy and coinage, citizenship, and naturalization.”
Quoting excerpt of the draft of the national government-MILF agreement, the Bangsamoro territory will cover the present geographical area of the ARMM, the cities of Cotabato and Isabela, as well as the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte. Like it was with the national government’s agreement with the MNLF during the term of the late Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, that established the ARMM, “the Philippines remains one nation and one people.” The President further assured that the “Filipinos of Bangsamoro will have a fair and equitable share of taxation, revenues, and the fruits of national patrimony.”
Compared to the one created during the time of then Pres. Aquino, the expectation is higher now on the national government that the creation of a new Muslim territory in Mindanao will put an end to the eon of bloody armed conflict, crossfire between the Muslim separatist group and the government troops. As quoted by writer Kim Arveen Patria for Yahoo! News, Pres. Aquino defines the agreement as one that will “bring all former secessionist groups into the fold; no longer does the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aspire for a separate state.”
In said news, the President threw a caveat though saying, “Promises must be kept, institutions must be fixed, and new capacities must be built nationally and regionally in order to effectively administer the Bangsamoro. The citizenry, especially the youth, must be empowered so that new leaders may emerge.”
There is really great hoping that the establishment of the Bangsamoro entity will not later be adjudged by the future leader of the nation as a “failure,” albeit that all these attempts are nothing more than pure trial efforts to finally achieve peace in Mindanao. Hopefully again, no more ruthless individuals, such as politicians and businessmen, who will take advantage of the gains that will flow in this land of promise. History recalls that social injustices and land grabbing pushed the once peace-loving people of Mindanao to rebel against the government. Hopefully too that the MNLF, with whom the national government forged an agreement that led to the creation of ARMM, will not stage a protest on this, a revolt that could escalate into a huge proportion that will build another war-torn zone in the south.
Mindanao is naturally rich land in the archipelago, a land that could bring the Philippines into better heights in terms of progress and tourism development. With peace finally setting in following the establishment of the Bangsamoro as mounted by the administration of Pres. Noynoy Aquino, the Filipinos’ aspiration for Mindanao will soon find its realization.
By: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros
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