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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.

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