The ideological and political lines determine the conduct of revolutionary struggles and their objectives. This is the reason that one revolutionary group may differ from others. For instance, communist-led struggle always call for the overthrow of existing government, replace its system, as well as those running the state. In the case of MILF, we do not seek to overthrow the government in Manila, change its system, and replace its workers. All what is desired is to allow us freely to exercise our right to self-determination. And clearly that desire for now is overwhelmingly for the establishment of a genuine self-governing and autonomous entity in the Bangsamoro.
At long last, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is going to be launched tomorrow in Davao City. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim led key personalities from government and MILF, respectively, in gracing the occasion. Members of the international community, as well as other sectors of society, are also attending.
Contrary to perceptions or accusations of some people or groups, the Moros are not disunited. We are not fighting each other, Maranao versus Maguindanao, Maguindanao versus Tausog, Tausog versus Maranao, etc. The problems that plagued our communities are virtually similar to those happening in other areas. Maybe a little frequent but not in volume is true due to the proliferation of weapons in the hands of so many people. Say, for instance, kidnapping. Those taking place in Mindanao, done or suspected be pulled by “Moros”, are too small in number compared to the ones done in Metropolitan Manila alone.
In a forum organized by the Communication Foundation for Asia in Sta. Mesa, Manila on the 23rd of this month, representatives of the indigenous peoples, also known as “lumads”, complained of being caught in the middle during armed confrontations between the New People’s Army (NPA) and government forces.
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is supposed to be submitted to Congress by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in July this year. It is five months away, and the BTC is not yet formally in place. The 21 commissioners have not yet received their appointment papers, although we were informed that their appointments, except one, were already signed by the president.
We never knew that the main reason why former President Joseph Estrada was ousted from office was due to his refusal to heed the advice of the US to forego his all-out war against the MILF in 2000. It is indeed a vital revelation that can affect the narrative of that war! It is straight the horse’s mouth, so to speak!
The first meeting between the peace teams of the MILF and Government of the Philippines (GPH) under the Duterte administration in Kuala Lumpur last August 13-14 was by any yardstick a good start. There was no sign of any of the hassles that described the early efforts to bring back the peace process into its formal track. Even the role of Malaysia, as third country facilitator, which was questioned by some quarters had never had any hint of an issue. In fact, Secretary Jesus Dureza, in his opening statement, was overflowing with praises and good words for Malaysia: “This ceremony today is also a public recognition of the significant contribution of Malaysia to the Bangsamoro peace process. We sincerely thank them and invite them now to become one of our Global Partners for Peace, joining the rest of our international development partners here present.”