Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Bangsamoros need to reach out to the Sultanates

This title may not make sense right now but let me explain.

With the recent signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro or CAB, many issues come to mind.

Tribal issue: call it whatever you want but at the end of the day it all boils down to the fact that most Maguindanaos and Maranaos support the MILF while MNLF's supporters were mostly Tausugs.

Trust issue: when the MNLF made peace with the government, a political entity that became a political machinery for corruption came into being, the ARMM. Honestly the average Filipino easily equates the ARMM with the Ampatuan Massacre. So with the CAB replacing the ARMM, I will not be surprised if a lot of people are skeptical.

The Trapos: what about the traditional politicians? Oh, they would hold on to their dear seats and do everything they can to preserve the status quo.

The MNLF: made the last stance last September 2013 that 'stoke the ember' of Tausug pride and gave last hope to the younger generation the idea of independence but also left dozens dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. In a desperate attempt to make themselves still relevant, they unknowingly fell into the traps of an undercover agent posing as UN representative with supposedly a directive from Ban Ki Moon himself to declare independence. At the end of the day, those who will stand to benefit from this incursion are the corporate land owners who will eventually erect shopping malls on the ashes of burnt Muslim homes and the government officials who will receive gifts from them. In the spirit of the Quranic injunction 'cooperation to that which is good' the MNLF must exercise humility and support the CAB.

THE SULTANATES: the Tausugs are running out of options. The MNLF is almost defunct and the only option that still consistent with the Tausug pride is the Sultanate option. Indeed this is a viable option but with the claimants to the throne increasing and no clear leadership and acceptable agenda in sight, this option could only be seen as a ploy to stop the Bangsamoro to succeed. The Bangsamoro includes the sultanates and even more. It includes ancestral homeland. This means even without the Sultans, the Tausug has still the right to their homeland and its resources. But I'm sure that the Tausug pride will dominate and this option will start to pickup some support. Hey, people are being promised independence not just autonomy plus of course add to that another territory, the Sabah.

Corporate Manila: Considering that the top ten corporations in the Philippines are mainly engaging in Haram trades (Riba, alcohol and gambling) many of them may not be happy as their market will not expand or may even contract.

Ultimately, the Bangsamoro advocates must reach out to the proponents of the Sultanates. Their scope must be inclusive of the Sultanate (without the Sabah Claim) and broad enough to make the ordinary people feel that they are part of it.

Despite of everything, I am hopeful of the Bangsamoro.

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