Saturday, February 16, 2013

Impending war of independence in Mindanao

Malacanang publicly acknowledged their plan on how to attain peace in Mindanao---allowed the creation of a sub-state, according to former peace adviser and now Supreme Court justice Marvin Leonen. There is nothing wrong with granting the Bangsamoros their own territory. Fact is, based on numerous studies, a creation of a sub-state, or a Bangsamoro Islamic State, is really the ultimate political solution to the centuries' old problem in Mindanao.

Unknown probably to Leonen and to the rest of the officials in Malacanan, the very solution they prescribed in Central Mindanao or territories with Bangsamoro communities there, will precipitate another and more serious problem.

Muslim scholars say that if the Government of the Republic of the Philippines intends to grant sub-state status to the Bangsamoros, the very concept should also apply to territories beyond the scope of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Meaning, the GRP should also recognize statism as a solution to the insurgency being waged by the Moros in the islands of Jolo, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, territories with Tausugs as the dominant ethnic group.

The independence war in Mindanao is basically waged in two main fronts: Central Mindanao and the islands of Jolo, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. Historically, these territories fall under three (3) sultanates: the Sultanate of Maguindanao, the Sultanate of Buayan and the Sultanate of Sulu.

In the minds of the Muslims in Mindanao, the GRP-MILF agreement encompasses only two (2) sultanates: the Sultanate of Maguindanao and of Buayan. Since the GRP failed to enter into an agreement with the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, who is now highly acknowledged not just in Mindanao but in other parts of the Muslim world, as a legitimate Hashemite Kingdom, it follows that, even with a peace agreement with the MILF, peace will still be a long stretched affair in that part of the archiepelago.

Let me make it perfectly simple---even with a peace agreement, war will still break out in other parts of Mindanao because, for Tausugs and Yakans and those who recognize the Sultanate of Sulu as a political legitime, there is still one more Sultanate left to be freed from the clutches of colonial Manila.

Worse, the very solution to this is the granting of a status of sub-state even in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan--at the very least, because the Sultanate of Sulu claims Palawan as a part of the Kingdom and Sabah, which is now being administered by another state, the Malaysian government.

There is a complication in this matter---if the Government of the Republic of the Philippines recognizes the Sultanate as a "sub-state", this will give political legitimacy to the claims of the remaining heirs of the Sultanate to Sabah.

Giving legitimacy to the Sultanate means giving legitimacy to the Sabah claim. As a "sub-state", the Sultanate of Sulu will now be in a better position to amplify its claims over Sabah, a move which will affect Philippine-Malaysian relations.

The Philippine government therefore is really in a bind. If the Sultanate of Sulu claims Sabah, and Malaysia resists, under the very concept for which Leonen, the so-called "peace architect" , created,  the Philippine government has to give aid to the Sultanate in pursuit of its claim.

What is now happening in Mindanao is the slow killing of the concept of Bangsamoro and the carving of the Bangsamoro territory into numerous pieces. The GRP-MILF peace agreement aims to break the war, but, in actuality, will even worsen the situation in Mindanao.

If the GRP includes the Sulu-Tawi-Tawi-Basilan area as part of the Bangsamoro sub-state, there will be stiff resistence coming from those who do not recognize the legitimacy of such a political solution.

There will be an interacine war between and among Muslims in Mindanao. There will be two fronts: the MILF, together with the GRP security forces, and the military forces of the Sultanate of Sulu together with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

This is what I already wrote several months ago--that the GRP-MILF peace agreement will only solve one part of the problem and not the entire thing. Shortly after the conclusion of the Bangsamoro's struggle against colonial Manila, there will be another phase of the war, this time, between Bangsamoros and Muslims who claim to be under the legitimate Hashemite kingdom based in Sulu.

This will be bloody as it will attract numerous Islamic forces within the region itself. The next Islamic struggle will be regional and will be a magnet for a revival of the Islamic concept of pan-regionalism.

In  this phase, Islamic freedom fighters will think of their compatriots in the MILF as government stooges, altogether eliminating whatever moral standing they presently have.There will be a civil war among Bangsamoros, something which will hinder the development and growth of the Bangsamoro Islamic sub-state.

What this GRP-MILF peace agreement wants to achieve in one part, will spark another problem in the other, thanks to the ill-appreciation of history by several "learned men" of the law within the Palace who still thinks of state management as something petty.

Philippine president Benigno S. Aquino III has a very serious problem confronting him.