Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GRP-MILF Framework leads to Bangsamoro Independence

I've seen, lived and covered Mindanao for many years and have friends who are directly involved in the struggle towards an independent Bangsamoro. Frankly, the path taken by the Aquino administration is a bold step towards the right direction. It is bold because it seeks to help our fellow Bangsamoros build their own state without the need for bloodshed. As what Mohaqher Iqbal told news reporters two days ago, he is tired of fighting. He has been fighting for forty years, and he wants to quit in an honorable way. For him, and the rest of the Central Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), this is the honorable way.

NOT QUITE though for members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the splinter group formed by former MILF commander Umbra Kato. Kato, who happens to be the protege of the late Hashim Salamat, founder and ideological leader of the Bangsamoros, believes in another path. Kato is striving towards independence. 

For many Bangsamoros, independence is really the real solution to many of their problems. Self-government is the key towards their own prosperity as a Muslim nation. Yet, the very concept of independence is being frown upon by several key groups because it is destabilizing. Traditional political groups in the area are benefitting from the status quo, and they would strongly oppose such strivings. 

LIkewise, external foreign forces would not agree on such since their own interests would be affected if a strong Bangsamoro state emerges in the critical South. The South is strategically located within the so-called trade triangle involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Such a state would compete both economically and politically with other Islamic states in the region. Several analysts even think that such a state would resuscitate the age-old claim for the return of the state of Sabah, a thing which Malaysia had a special interest. 

The GRP-MILF Framework for Peace is a necessary plan towards achieving full independence because it prepares the Bangsamoro as a "minority state". A state born from war would encounter a long rehabilitation phase. 

The framework tries to avoid such a scenario since this will also be tasking to the Central Government. 

Let the Bangsamoro state grow organically, from the strivings of the True Servants of Allah SBT Allah. The Bangsamoro needs peace to achieve a good life to all those living in the Promised Land.