Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Incisive Views:

Few Objectionable Points on Aquino Peace Policy Direction

By: Maulana R. Alonto

The Moro Question has always been an international issue because the conflict in Mindanao is a sovereignty-based conflict basically created by foreign colonialism and imperialism. The international community's current involvement in the resolution of this conflict provides the necessary environment for the parties-in-conflict, i.e. the Bangsamoro people and the Philippine state, to dialogue over this problem on the negotiating table and arrive at a peaceful political settlement of the conflict. Now the Aquino regime wants to remove the international community from involvement in the peace process? What, then, does it want? The continuation of the war? For this would be analogous to a boxing match without a referee. And this would be tragic for the new Aquino regime which promises a clean departure from the mistakes of the past. Those who have access to Noynoy Aquino should tell him this!

But what we heard from informed sources is that the GRP is reviewing the participation of the International Contact Group (ICG) with the end in view of limiting and perhaps eliminating altogether its involvement in the peace process. As I said, international community involvement is necessary for having an environment that allows both parties to seriously do problem-solving on the negotiating table, not on the battlefield. Our opinion is that doing away with the international community would be a monumental blunder on the part of the Aquino regime. I hope President Aquino does not listen to the likes of Frank Drilon and Mar Roxas who may be his loyal partymates but who stand opposed to any just political settlement of the Mindanao conflict.

Moreover, there is a suggestion that President Aquino will tap Indonesia to facilitate the talks. This means the elimination of Malaysia as the current facilitator. We know that Indonesia is the closest ally of the GRP in Southeast Asia. Indonesia also presided over the political defeat of the MNLF in the MNLF-GRP peace talks. Indonesia is likewise the main sponsor of the GRP's bid for observer status in the OIC. Aquino is now reconfiguring the MILF-GRP peace process by eliminating Malaysia and limiting, if not doing away, with international community involvement beyond the OIC. The implication of this is that the ICG will have to eventually go. Malaysia did a good job at facilitation and is head of the IMT. Problem is, Aquino listens to people like Ging Deles of OPPAP who are hostile to Malaysian facilitation.

Earlier, DND Secretary V. Gazmin said the "rebels" should lay down their arms first. If this is the mindset of the Aquino regime, then Mindanao is in for the prolongation of the conflict. Aquino knows practically nothing of the Moro Question. As to belligerency status, this is no longer applicable in the current resolution of international sovereignty-based conflicts. The international dimension of the peace process underscores the need to resolve a conflict through a political compromise at the negotiating table; meaning, insofar as our case is concerned, that both parties in conflict can arrive at a political formula that would both satisfy the Philippine state's ideology of 'national sovereignty and territorial integrity' and the Bangsamoro people's right of self-determination. But if the Philippine state stubbornly insists on the primacy of its position and that the same should be the framework of any negotiation and, therefore, should dictate the rules of peace engagements, then peace talks are useless.

As such, the Bangsamoro nation has no recourse but to fight for political independence! This is what happened to Algeria when the Algerians fought for their independence from French colonialism. Remember, the MILF never demanded for a separate independent state in the negotiations. The MOA-AD was not asking for Moro independence but merely for the return of what is left of the Moro ancestral domain where the Moro people can exercise self-rule as a sub-state of the larger Philippine state. This is the best political compromise to the colliding positions of the GRP and the Bangsamoro. But this was "killed" by the Filipinos even before it could leave the table.

Now, with the unraveling mindset of the Aquino regime, the prospect for resolution is dim. Independence now seems to be the only practical way to liberate ourselves from Philippine colonialism in the light of Filipino obduracy over the historical and current injustices perpetrated on the Moro people. Let Allah (SWT) be the Final Arbiter in our struggle for liberation!