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ADVOCACY MindaNOW: Early Campaigning

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 26 October)–EARLY BIRDS. I seldom watch TV but lately, I caught several “senatoriables” endorsing this or that product. Or simply making motherhood statements for some advocacies that always sound good to hear. If you ask me, those are pure and simple premature campaigning — whichever way you look at them.  And they are flagrantly circumventing the law which fixes the period within which campaigning is allowed. Moreover those expensive TV ads or commercials are not included in the required submission of “campaign” expenses simply because the campaign period has not simply started. Weird!

That’s the reason why I welcome the announcement of Sen. Miriam Santiago putting order to this.   If we cannot do this, we might as well remove those prohibitions! Failing in all this, someone was suggesting that we remember those early birds when we go to the polling booth to cast our vote. That makes sense!

REALITY  –But for someone who had been there (in the political arena) for a while, I cannot blame the senate aspirants. Due to the gap in the law, those who really want to win are compelled to take advantage of the loophole, never mind if those are against the spirit and the intent of the law.  The election “at large” with the whole country voting for senators is daunting as it is. Not to mention the horrible expenses!

If only senators are elected by region, some radical but meaningful changes can take place in this.  Not only in the campaign issue.   But more importantly, in the quality of governance and representation.

SOME CHANGES — We have always “shouted to the winds” (meaning, they’re carried away and lost just as fast) that some systemic changes must come if we really want to put things in order. And one area is the political portion in the Constitution.

I hear some noise about amending the so-called “economic provisions” in the charter. Well and good. But then they immediately make clear, ONLY in the economic provisions but NOT in the other provisions.  C’mon guys, we are skirting the real issue. In this country, everything is politics.

Bottom line: we are stuck with the present political system unless there are systemic changes.

So, who’s afraid of constitutional amendments? Definitely NOT ME! But again, that’s shouting to the winds!

“PEACE BY PIECE” — Now that the euphoria of that Framework Agreement has somewhat died down, we now go to the brass tacks. The difficult part is the negotiations on the “annexes” that will be appended to the mother agreement.

The agreement is not complete. Putting flesh to it is a challenge. Both sides will have to work on this “peace by piece”.

DREAMING —I now recall   I still have to answer MindaNews Chief Ms. Carol Arguillas who asked me, when I met her in Malacanang during the signing last week, to give my personal view on how Bangsamoro will look like 20 years or 50 years from now. I guess Carol’s question was inspired by President Aquino who expressed his own dream of what Muslim land would be many, many years hence during the ceremony.

Sorry but up to now, I have not sent her my own dream for the Bangsamoro for the future. Why? Because what Bangsamoro will be years and years later will depend on what we ALL do TODAY! And I think we have not done much yet. And a lot more to do ahead.


****FORMER OPAPP SEC. BELLE ABAYA quietly and peacefully passed away in her sleep in the US. Our deep condolences. She was an institution herself. Also, my inaanak and former co-worker in peace EDSEL MIJARES suddenly passed away while vacationing with his family in Hongkong Disneyland. Deepest condolences to wife Joy and daughter Kiara and the Dizon family.

**** SEC DINKY SOLIMAN was on her way to Cotabato City when I bumped into her on the Manila to Davao plane. She looked radiant. As if social welfare work is not having a toll on her, difficult the job as it is.

**** MNLF CHAIR NUR MISUARI gathered about 10,000 followers at the Crocodile Park in Davao City last Sunday. He should not be relegated to the wayside as a “has been” as some sectors are now saying. He is still an icon to many Muslims, whether MNLF or non-MNLF due to his personal sacrifices for the Bangsamoro and his earned stature with the Islamic world.  Government must re-engage Nur.

(Lawyer Jesus G. Dureza was government peace panel chair in the negotiations with the MILF under the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2003 and was later named Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (2005 to 2008). He heads Advocacy MindaNOW Foundation, Inc. and was recently named publisher of the Davao City-based Mindanao Times. This piece is from his syndicated column, Advocacy MindaNOW).


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