Sunday, October 28, 2012

Paper reveals provisions of Bangsamoro peace accord

MILF chair Murad Ebrahim (center).
This is my reaction to Mr. Amando Doronila's column "Bangsamoro framework: The inside story", which appeared at the www.inquirer.net, on Oct. 29.

One of the particular paragraphs that caught my attention focused on: “The MILF wanted to have full jurisdiction [over] the judicial system, including banks, budgeting, and creation of taxes and revenues, as well as full control over policing and internal security,” the paper said.

The paper being referred to above is titled “Forging a Peace Settlement for the Bangsamoro: Compromises and Challenges,” a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer. It was presented by professor Miriam Coronel Ferrer of the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines, at the recent 2012 Philippines Update Conference at Australian National University in Canberra. Ferrer is a member of the Philippine negotiating panel in the talks with the MILF.

I don't want to sound like a broken record. And I have no ill-feelings with our Moro brothers in Mindanao. What I'm particular about was the way some of the provisions in the framework of agreement were written. As far as I'm concerned, some of these provisions need close scrutiny by lawmakers once the proposed agreement reaches the halls of Congress.

The point I'm raising is how in the world could a sovereign state like the Philippines gives up some of its core functions to the Bangsamoro just to attain a lasting peace in Mindanao?

The MILF's proposal to be accorded full jurisdiction over banks, collection of revenues and internal security within its sub-state is too much a demand that must be fully scrutinized by Congress. The danger here is that these jurisdictions are prone to abuses.

For example, the Bangsamoro Bank or other banks under its control may be used as  channels to send and receive huge amount of  laundered money to finance its sinister plans against the Mother State. And I don't think the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLA) will always be on the lookout for loopholes in so far as financial transactions in the banks are concerned.

Another case in point is internal security. Has it ever occurred to the government peace negotiators that this jurisdiction has the tendency to control and protect the Bangsamoro's own interests within its territory, where anybody cannot just come in to cross its borders.

I have strong suspicion that MILF has not laid down all its cards on the table. When the framework of agreement reaches Congress, the lawmakers must make sure that co-existence among Christians and Muslims will be respected. If not, the massive displacement of Christians is likely possible.

I don't want to be misconstrued to be suffering from paranoia. Nor I want to preempt the results during the deliberation of the framework of agreement in Congress. But once this happens, fighting between the Christians and Muslims will surely take place. And do you think there will be a lasting peace in Mindanao? Nope.

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