‘Convergence’ has two sides

2nd Issue 8-15

The use of the term “convergence” is more of a government preferred approach in handling the emerging two tracks pursued by the MNLF and MILF and government, respectively. Lately, the MNLF seems inclined to it, which drifts slightly away from the “harmonization” approach being pushed by the Organization of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).  It is not bad per se; it only requires more appreciation that convergence is more of a process; and this is mainly through the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, and more importantly, through the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Surely, the MILF will not make a mountain out of this molehill’s issue.  But for all serious and practical purposes, in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which the current Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has started to deliberate on since March 6, the main term of reference would be the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its Four Annexes and Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters, and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). But in order to be more inclusive and acceptable to all, all legitimate interests of other stakeholders especially those contained in the GRP-MNLF Final Agreement of September 2, 1996 shall be form part of the new proposed BBL.

To be more circumspect, the MILF is more than willing and happy to accommodate the unimplemented provisions of this agreement that can enhance and improve the proposed BBL suitable and acceptable not just to the MILF and MNLF but more importantly to the Bangsamoro people. After all, the purpose of the GPH-MILF peace process was and still is to solve the Bangsamoro Question or problem.

We are sure that when government first used this term, as clearly illustrated in its proposed roadmap on peace and development, it bears all the marks of best intentions. And we have no single reason to doubt it, because we trust President Rodrigo Roa Duterte very much for so many reasons.

But good intention has to be nurtured with clear path, programs, and consistency. A book in the 70s written by an American author bears the title: “Beyond Good Intentions”. The president only directs and gives guidelines but much of the process is given to those who are implementing it. This, therefore, gives so much weight and prominence to the administration peace team headed by the energetic Secretary Jesus Dureza. In more restrictive sense, government nominees and now commissioners to the BTC should have a full grasp of the realities in crafting the new BBL. There is no room for a second thought to it.

But we are also sure that those chosen by government to the BTC are men and women of outstanding record and commitment to give justice to the age-old problem in Mindanao what President Duterte and earlier President Benigno Aquino III had described as “historical injustices” committed against the Bangsamoro people.  We are confident that both the commissioners from the MILF and from government can blend together and work as a team, as what the previous BTC headed by Mohagher Iqbal had achieved. Never in their entire almost four years in office did they decide by division of the house; decisions were always done either by consensus or the commission gave him the authority to decide.