Monday, October 8, 2012

Independent Muslim state inside a sovereign nation?

Philippine government peace negotiators and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed in principle to lay down the frameworks for the creation of the Bangsamoro government, in place of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which will automatically be abolished once a new Muslim government is created in Mindanao. 
Government forces in action
Political observers said once and for all, the agreement is expected to put an end to the hostilities that already killed at least 150,000 people since the insurgency started in Mindanao many decades ago.

They said that this political initiative will largely contribute in stabilizing the peace and order situation in the country. Lawmakers explained that the provisions of the law that will establish the Bangsamoro will be deliberated in Congress. Then, it will be resolved through a referendum. It is now up to the Filipino people as to whether they are sold out to the idea of allowing the MILF to run its own autonomous government or not.

Bangsamoro fighters
The MILF said that once the Bangsamoro government is set up, the MILF forces will give up their arms and go back to their normal civilian lives and be with their families.

This is where the confusions begin. Legal minds in the Muslim community are questioning the idea of MILF forces surrendering their firearms to the government. According to one of the Muslim lawyers, owning a firearm is an indispensable property of any Muslim fighter, which could not be separated from him even in sleep. For a Muslim fighter, owning a firearm is like a marriage.

It is puzzling to note, however, that the MILF has threatened to continue its fight against the government should the proposed Bangsamoro government fails to succeed in the referendum. How can this be?

As if the Bangsamoro will be imposing its will upon the will of millions of people. At present, it is already given that there are more Christians than the Muslims in Mindanao. And it is only practical to note that it is unlikely that the referendum will succeed for the creation of the Bangsamoro government, which is similar to an effort that is wishing for the moon. In the first place, why would the Christians agree to a Bangsamoro government whose interests will not serve the interests of the dominant Christians in Mindanao? If not, it is short of saying that the majority ethnic population will be subservient to the wishes of the Muslim minority? No way.

Let's take for granted that the Bangsamoro state will only be applicable in selected provinces where the Muslims are the dominant population. I don't think that the Christian population in those areas will readily adhere to the Islamic laws that the Bangsamoro government wanted to implement. This is something that needs to be ironed out before any bloodshed could take place.

Palace officials must take a cursory look at how this plan will come into existence. If the government is dancing to the tune being sang by the MILF, there is no way that this can be acceptable to all the Christians in Mindanao. I'm sure not all the provinces in Mindanao will be under the Bangsamoro State as there are provinces that have more Christians than the Muslims.

Government peace negotiators must reflect on how the Gaza Strip came to be. After the Israel allowed its existence, it now wanted to shallow the whole of Israel. I hope I'm wrong. But I'm afraid this is the way the MILF wanted to emulate. There will come a time when Filipinos will need a passport to cross into the Bangsamoro State.





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