Government & MILF Pact: The Need For a Lasting Peace


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Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the signing of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on ancestral domains between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government. This was done after local officials in Mindanao filed a petition to stop a supposed secret agreement that will cede parts of Mindanao; to the MILF.

Legal Luminary Fr. Joaquin Bernas S.J, a constitutionalist, and incumbent dean of the Ateneo Law School, tried to calm fears saying that the MOA is nothing but a piece of paper and meaningless in the absence of an act of congress and people's ratification through a plebiscite.

Bernas however, noted that a MOA signing or a TRO is a psychological boost for those in favor or against the accord. With the TRO issued by the high court, the advantage seems to be on those against the agreement. However, this is very early in the game, the government, with its determination to hammer an agreement (with the MILF), will do everything to have it signed and ratified with finality. Those against it have the courts and the people's plebiscite as recourse in stopping the accord.

Whatever the outcome will be, this controversy is generally good for everyone. With the press and the country's leaders all talking about the MOA, the public had become aware of its provisions and is now in a better position to decide what is for the good of the country. Take note that this agreement will eventually end with a plebiscite.

The downside to this controversy is the delay in the end of hostilities in Mindanao. This rebellion has been dragging on for so long to the detriment of everybody and the government hopes to end it with a peace agreement.

Let us hope that everyone will be enlightened fast enough and this matter be resolved soon. At the end of the day, the result should be nothing less than lasting peace for Mindanao and the rest of the country.

9 thoughts on “Government & MILF Pact: The Need For a Lasting Peace

  1. This is something that just got thrust into the limelight. It struck me like a bolt of lightning. Is the government so near-sighted to realize that this thing is a prelude to a separate state in Mindanao? I am all for peace but not at the cost of a divided country.

    The ARMM was formed to end the war with the MNLF. Now they are all for an enlarged version with this MOA to stop fighting with the MILF. What’s next? If another muslim military group arises, will there be a need to create an even bigger one than this?

    The thing is, unless poverty in Mindanao is alleviated, people will still go up in arms and support any bandit group that claims they can feed them. The government should prioritize this rather than give control of Philippine territory to a big bandit group, which by the way is still a minority compared to the whole population of Mindanao or the areas they want to control.

    I wish the government will reconsider and just crush all rebel groups in Mindanao once and for all! And then for goodness sake, take good care of the people there so they don’t feel the need to rebel.

  2. Hi Trojanbull,

    I agree that the government can’t keep on coming up with agreements after agreements and hope that it will end the problem. I however, do not agree with the idea of crushing the revolt by using the military alone. Poverty must be addressed- period. A happy citizenry will never think of anything else.

  3. Hi JD,

    Let’s get one thing straight. Those Muslim bandits are Not for alleviating poverty in Mindanao even when it is through the promise of a meal that allowed them to grow their numbers. These bandits are for secession and threaten the Philippines’ unity and territory. That cannot be allowed! The American civil war happened because several states wanted to secede from the Union. This could very well happen in Mindanao. If Erap did one thing correctly in his term, it was the war on this MILF which greatly diminished their strength.

    To crush this group will require the military. Their existence is not even legal because citizens are not allowed to bear unlicensed firearms. And rebellion is definitely a crime punishable by death in our Constitution. Poverty alleviation is a strategy to keep these groups from growing. These 2 combined are necessary to stop what is happening now.

    I am not anti-Muslim. And I love the diversity of cultures in Mindanao. I am for peace. But dealing with the MILF when their goal is to secede from the Republic should not even be considered. Crush them, Crush them, CRUSH THEM! Groups like them are the reasons why Mindanao could not develop.

  4. I agree with the annihilation of the bandits. However, the solution of using the military as the only means will be ineffective if the populace will remain hungry. Feeding the people in the area (not the bandits) will deprive the armed groups of any mass support. However, keeping the people hungry will simply make recruitment of the rebels and the armed gangs easy. If people are unemployed, idle and hungry, it is so easy to lure them with the prospect of power through the rifle, easy money and the chance to improve their lives. The solution to the Mindanao problem, I believe is a comprehensive approach with all steps being as important as the other.

  5. How could we possibly deal with these people or coexist with them if they themselves cannot control factions within their group? And we’re expanding their territorial rule? The GRP is too dumb(DUMB!) not to see this as a precedent to separate Mindanao. We’ve given them ARMM. Now they want more!!!??? CRUSH THEM!!!!

  6. to Trojanbull,

    i respect the fact that everyone has its own opinion. but reading yours was something i have to react with ~it wasn’t an opinion, it was a very rude judgment. everything has its reasons so, YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK THAT WAY because you don’t know what these men are really fighting for. have you heard there side firsthand? or did you just based things on what THEY said?? sometimes, there are so many add-ons, put-ons, whatever on what really is the truth. you can say things about them but not conclude things. crush them? haha! ;p good day!

  7. Why does the Government allow the MILF to be armed?
    Why does the Government even recognize the MILF?
    Since the Moros are fellow-citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, how could the Government declare ‘war’ on the MILF? Shouldn’t the MILF instead be dealt with as CRIMINALS under common, civil law?

  8. Regarding the Moro’s land claims in Mindanao – the important question is not WHO SHOULD GOVERN but WHICH LAWS MUST GOVERN. One point of law which must never be compromised is, “Thou shalt not murder”. Since the MILF fails to uphold this basic righteousness and human right, it loses the right to govern. If the Government allows the Moro peoples to be made subject to evil laws, the Government are partners in crime.

  9. I am extremely glad that the government has taken a firmer stance against these MILF bandits. They should be totally obliterated as far as I’m concerned.

    As for what the MILF is fighting for, well we know that already. Just look at the intention of that failed MOA. They want to grab power and secede from the republic! That cannot be allowed, PERIOD! No IFs, no Buts, NO compromises!

    Ang hirap kasi sa mga yan, wala na ngang naitutulong sa pag-unlad ng Mindanao, nanggugulo pa!

    If I had my way, all members of the MILF, the CPP-NPA, the Abu Sayaf, and other terrorist organizations in the Philippines, including military extremists, should be immediately tried and executed as our Constitution says. They thrive on the generosity of the public, always thinking they can commit their crimes and get away with it.

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