My limited understanding on the current peace talks

Just wanna share this post from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process. It describes the characteristics of the Government’s counterproposal on the MILF’s Comprehensive Compact.

Eleven Characteristics of the Government Proposal

Posted on Monday, 22 August, 2011 – 12:17 at OPAPP website.

1.  The proposal contains a formula to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in our country.  It presents a practical and bold approach to create the conditions for meaningful and effective governance through a sustainable partnership that will bring in the needed social services and projects that provide the springboards for sustainable economic development. Unlike past administrations, this government is poised to use its massive resources and its theme of good governance for this undertaking.

2.  The proposal is founded on partnership.  It has the potential to create mutual trust amongst peoples of our country, heal the wounds of conflict, mobilize and capacitate Bangsamoro leaders and therefore increase understanding among all Filipinos of every ascribed identity.  It is a partnership that will therefore set the stage for more enlightened political discussion amongst all parties.  This discussion, in turn, will effectively point the way to the realization legal reforms that may be truly necessary.

3.  The proposal is politically comprehensive. It contains ideas for reforming the relationship between national and regional government.  But, it also meets the challenge of finding viable mechanisms that increase the possibility for finding convergence of programs among all those who claim to represent the Bangsamoro, Christian settlers and indigenous peoples within the conflict affected areas. The reform of political relations takes into account the realities of socio-economic underdevelopment, demographic shifts and diversity across communities.

4.  The proposal works with what is available and doable within the next few years. It does not start with contentious and divisive issues whose resolution may not be realizable as yet.     The proposal thus realistically meets the urgent and present needs of many communities who were the victims of colonial oppression, postcolonial neglect, misguided leaders and past abuses of some national leaders while preparing for the viability of longer term and mutually agreed upon solutions to the Bangsamoro problem.

5.   The proposal works on the premise that the form of government that should be entrenched should be able to deliver good and effective governance, social services and foster economic development within the soonest possible time.

6.  The proposal shows government’s awareness of the extent of the legal and political powers of the President.  However, it is also a political document that is intended to cause public discussion that can support future debates, when it becomes necessary, in other constitutional forums such as the legislature and the courts.

7.  The proposal recognizes the identity of the Bangsamoro and its history. This proposal takes this history into consideration but avoids simplification of the solutions for a complex and myriad problem.  The Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) may have been a failed experiment in the past; but the current proposal is based on a more balanced understanding of whether its past failure was due to its structure and the systems that it spawned or the quality of the past national or regional leadership. This proposal presents the possibility of a more empowered, more workable, and thus, more genuine autonomy of a Bangsamoro region.

8.  The proposal continues a discussion on how revenue and the use of resources could ensure enhance autonomy.  However, it also introduces the idea that ecological and cultural diaspora as a result of unbridled exploitation of resources have effects far beyond political boundaries.  The proposal therefore includes a system of cooperation between the national and regional government to ensure sustainable futures.

9.  The proposal starts a discussion on the process of normalization.  This includes weapons disposal, disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation of combatants.  It also includes processes to achieve restorative justice.

10.  The proposal is founded on the belief that legal reforms do not by themselves bring about social change.  Rather, this proposal proceeds from the fundamental faith that no legal reform can take root without genuine public consensus.

11.  The proposal seeks to correct our historical narratives so that it truly acknowledges the struggles of all Filipinos including those with ascribed Bangsamoro identity.  It believes that the various struggles of each group of people within our State contribute to the latter’s strength.  The proposal seeks to entrench the retelling of our true historical narratives across all generations through existing mechanisms within the powers of government.

My limited view on this on each specific item, which every high school student could understand.

1. It’s like saying that you can trust this government and its good governance. We are sincere in dealing with you. We would like to improve the  quality of the lives of the people in partnership with you and rest assured that the Government will make use of the agencies to address the economic and social services for the Bangsamoro people.

2. Let’s do the doables first. Improve the region (I’m referring to the ARMM) and empower the Bangsamoro leaders. However, we are not telling you that you totally drop the substate proposal. For the mean time, let’s do these first. Let’s strengthen our relationship, develop understanding among Muslims and Christians and we’ll talk about the necessary Constitutional amendments in the near future.

3. We are offering a solution that everybody will be happy: the MNLF of Misuari, MILF, LGU’s which includes Pinol, Congressmen like Dimaporo. You should try to understand that we are not dealing with the MILF alone, but with so many stakeholders, we are careful not to repeat once again the MOA-AD debacle. To reiterate, let’s work hand in hand to improve the socio-economic lives of our people.

4. Let’s address first the emergent problems. Let’s talk later about the proposed substate, the relationship about the proposed substate and the Central government, and ancestral domain issue.

5. Let’s reform the ARMM as a mechanism to address poverty and improve the lives there, urgently.

6. Can’t get the gist on this. It’s like, give the President much power to effect reform, or we limit the power of the Philippine Government in the ARMM. This will elicit questions on constitutionality, but we see this would work. We might come up with a law to effect this one.

7. We recognize your identity and history. Let’s empower the ARMM. The ARMM per se is not a failure, though it has its own limitations. We should also consider that it failed partly because of its leaders and the national government. We will grant you a genuine autonomy where you could exercise your self-rule, etc, but please don’t insist on the substate yet. This will need a law amending the ARMM organic act.

8. Here’s our proposal on financing the reformed ARMM and wealth-sharing.

9.  You disarm in time. Here’s our offer for your combatants which we believe is just.

10. The substate proposal does not solve the problem. Let’s study this first and consult more stakeholders. Until we have a thorough consultation on this and increase of awareness on what is this all about, we cannot be with you on this substate. But please be assured that we understand the historical underpinnings of your proposal and your struggle for right to self-determination.

11. We recognize your part in history. We assure that there shall be necessary retelling of our history which shall include the comprehensive narrative of your history. We shall rewrite our books on history especially in the elementary and secondary education.

The Government is very careful this time on its counter-proposal. They do not address head-on the proposed Comprehensive Compact of the MILF which includes the substate concept, but they highlight the need to address the socio-economic needs of the Bangsamoro people through a reformed ARMM. However, they do not totally drop the substate proposal. They prefer not to focus on it yet.

The MILF I’m sure will have a hard time accepting the Government’s proposal. I hope I’m wrong. They’ve been struggling for so long, and they are hoping that the Government will be amenable to the substate concept,because they believe this is the only way to address the desires and aspirations of the Bangsamoro people and their right to self-determination. They are hoping also that the struggle will not be passed on to the Bangsamoro youth. They are trying to resolve this in their lifetime. Whatever happens in the negotiation I trust that the MILF and GPH will not resort to armed battle in the ground. I trust that both sides will continue to talk and will not resort to media grandstanding.

We continue to believe that this problem can be resolved peacefully through peace talks. I just hope that both sides will continue to be patient. We can’t afford another bloodshed. We are nearly there.

God bless Mindanao. May He grant more wisdom to GPH and MILF peace panels to come up with a win-win peaceful solution.

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About bagoy

This is a personal blog of Bagoy. He lives in a peaceful community of Barangay Banate, province of Sarangani, Philippines. He loves to play POG with his nephews.
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5 Responses to My limited understanding on the current peace talks

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  2. Pingback: Now starts the real negotiation | BAGUIONIVERSITY

  3. bagoy says:

    The Mindanao conflict is complex. The challenge is for us to write in such a way that a high school student could understand.

  4. Alyssa says:

    Well done! I learned some interesting things for me)

  5. I never thought of it that way, well put!

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