Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pnoy's Nobel peace prize at what costs?

The iconic Manila Bay sunset
Some people including this writer are trying to understand where President Benigno s. Aquino and his bunch of advisers, who includes Teresita Deles and Sheila Coronel are coming from. These people are risking so much political capital and even risking the very security of this state just to push for a proposed bill that is full of holes. Why? Why are these people so afraid of the wrath of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front? Or there are other reasons?

Some say its because the MILF is politically allied with Akbayan, a strong administration ally. Akbayan has been advocating for something like this for the Bangsamoro. Yet, pushing the envelope at this point runs the risk of a political suicide because of the unpopularity this BBL got not just because of the Mamasapano incident but of the unconstitutional provisions which were laid bare before the public by the very same legislators tasked to review it. Forcing this issue upon Congress puts the political future of Akbayan at a very high risks. So does the president's.

Others say, probably it is part of the administration's plan for President Aquino to step down with a Nobel peace prize tucked in his belt. But, is it really worth it considering that the palace knows for a fact that the fruits of their labors will not be immediately felt and really, this is more of a suntok sa buwan thing? As admitted by government and even by the MILF, this BBL is an experiment. Anything can happen including a derailment in its implementation. If implemented, the BBL may either create perpetual peace or perpetual destabilization. Besides, how sure are they that Pnoy would really get a nomination or even win the prize ? These are all in the realm of speculation, even an infantile infatuation.

Most believe that this administration is being forced by third parties, countries whose security are inevitably linked with Mindanao's. One, Malaysia. Mindanao is a very serious foreign policy issue for this Muslim confederation, not just in terms of security but in terms of trade. Notice that in the BBL, there is no mention of Sabah, a state being claimed by the Philippines. What happens now if sulu becomes a part of the Bangsamoro territory? Remember that the sultanate of sulu is the one pushing for the retaking or reclaiming of Sabah. What happens if sulu becomes just a province or a political subdivision of the bangsamoro republic ? Surely, it will affect the claims of the sultanate of sulu.  Why is it that we don't include sabah in the equation? Does this mean that the government is formally  abandoning its claims over that state?

By the very action of Pnoy during the Sabah siege by members of the sultanate says much of how we now regard our position in relation to sabah. Will the bangsamoro republic continue the claim or will they eventually abandon it?

With the tremendous financial assistance the government will pour in the proposed bangsamoro republic, there is a big possibility that it will even be the center of trade and commerce in the  BIMB-EAGA economic region. Having more resources than Malaysia, the chance of the bangsamoro developing even faster than Luzon and visayas is bigger than usual. Middle eastern countries are interested in mindanao and so do western countries, such as the United States, Europe and first world countries in asia, like japan. China is likewise a very keen observer in mindanao affairs.

Seriously, there are bigger geopolitical interests involved in the bangsamoro question and resolving this impacts on all of these interests.

In terms of the global fight on terror, mindanao is one place which is most critical. As early as the eighties, mindanao has already been identified as a possible flashpoint in the terror fight. It is an important component in the fight because a radicalization of mindanao will impact on the security of other countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and singapore. Mindanao may become a battlefield of sorts, Asia's version of Iraq or Syria. It may even be the source of Islamic fighters who will pursue the globalist agenda of Isis in this part of the world.

Now, going back to our original question--- at what price is that Nobel peace prize worth?

A BBL that is as incomplete as it is unconstitutional would create more trouble than peace. One, an unconstitutional law is sure to be challenged before the Supreme Court, which is one cause of delay. Another one, such delays might cause distrust even from one of the parties involved and that is surely, one serious reason for another delay.

President Aquino should be extremely careful not to sacrifice his last remaining political and moral capital in an issue where the outcome is not entirely sure.