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MIND DA NEWS: Bangsamoro in Grave Peril

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 07 December)– Unknown to the media, last November 5, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari coursed through Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza a letter to the President naming his MNLF faction’s five-member implementing panel led by his man-Friday Lawyer Randolph Parcasio. MindNews (December 2: 5-member Misuari panel named) learned this from Parcasio, who presented the MNLF-Misuari position and plan at the Kusog Mindanaw conference on federalism in Davao City last November 30.  

The MNLF-Misuari talking plan:

 [1] The MNLF-Misuari panel will work on a new autonomy law that would adhere to the letter and spirit of the 1996 FPA with the following as points of reference: (a) the 1976 Tripoli Agreement; (b) the 1996 FPA; (c) the executive summary during the proceedings (of the peace negotiations) from 1993 to 1996; and, (d) RA 9054.

 [2] No explicit reference was made to the MNLF-GRP-OIC (Organization of the Islamic Cooperation)  Tripartite Review but by Parcasio’s recapitulation of the Review, the GPH-MNLF-Misuari talks will most likely be a revival of the Review. Parcasio recapitulated:

  • The Tripartite Review had found 46 infirmities in RA 9054, the law that amended RA 6734, the Organic Act creating the ARMM. As an amendatory law, RA 9054, as an “expanded” ARMM law, was supposed to incorporate the 1996 FPA into it.
  • The GPH panel refers to the 42 provisions of R.A. 9054 that need to be revised as “42 consensus points”; but there was a consensus to delete four other provisions in RA 9054 that did not adhere to the 1996 FPA – hence 46 infirmities.
  • Thirty-two consensus points were agreed upon under the Arroyo administration; 14 under the Aquino administration. (NOTE: President Arroyo agreed to call for the Tripartite Review in in June 2006 but the first meeting was held in November 2007. Parcasio’s figures differ from the official reports we have on file; they are contradictory.)
  • Three issues have yet to be resolved: territory in reference to the plebiscite that would be held to ratify the law; the transition mechanism which is similar to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but “ours was the 1976 (Tripoli Agreement) version with some points coming from the 1996 (FPA) transitional mechanism; and revenue-sharing on strategic minerals or energy-based minerals.

[3] The MNLF-Misuari panel referred to as “committee” will sit with the government’s peace implementing panel “to draft a new autonomy law”, work on the executive doables as agreed upon during the Tripartite Review, and establish the Bangsamoro Development Assistance Fund that will be headed by the MNLF chair, among others.

[4] The draft bill will be submitted to the President who will then submit it to Congress.

[5] The MNLF has “agreed to a federal republic with five rich and big states” – Mindanao, Visayas, Southern Luzon, National Capital, and Northern Luzon.

[6] The Bangsamoro Autonomous Government (BAG) which shall be governed by the new autonomy law, be approved before the ratification of the constitution of the Federal  Republic. It said the BAG “shall be part of the Regional State Government of  Mindanao.”

It can be inferred from Parcasio’s presentation of the MNLF-Misuari talking plan that the Bangsamoro is in grave peril.

Will the OIC be involved? In what capacity? In the 10-year Review, the OIC did not just facilitate but was in control of the proceedings. And the agreements were submitted to the OIC Conference of Foreign Ministers. If this happens, the timeline for the submission of the MNLF-Misuari draft to the Congress will be adversely affected.

There was a draft containing the 42 consensus points to amend R.A. 9054, the submission of which to the Congress Misuari vetoed pending the resolution of the three contentious deemed not within the purview of the Review,  according to then PAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos – Deles. The adoption of the draft, even if revised, will save time; but the negotiation on the three contentious issues can upset the timeline for the submission of the MNLF-Misuari draft to the Congress.

The MILF-led BTC may be able to submit its draft to the Congress on or before July 2017. However, legislative action has to wait for the MNLF-Misuari draft.

But here’s the bombshell! Parcasio stated the MNLF-Misuari position: Letting Congress do the convergence of the draft laws of the MNLF and MILF would be a disaster. He knew that the MNLF-Misuari draft and that of the MILF-led BTC with MNLF-Sema, MNLF-Alonto, IPs and LGUs would have contradictory provisions. Even if the Congress would try to converge the two drafts, the law will be unacceptable to both parties.

He told the conference participants of his wishing for the moon. There must be “one common proposal of the MNLF and MILF” but how that can be done, “yan dapat natin pag-isipan” (that we should think about).

He is asking Allah for a miracle of mixing oil and water. “Let us pray to Allah that the MNLF and MILF will come up with a common proposal.”

Can the OIC and Mr. Duterte do what Allah is being implored to do? But for forty years the OIC has failed to unite the MNLF and MILF. After the signing of the 1996 FPA, the MNLF splintered into several factions. And, Mr. Duterte? He failed to use EO No. 08 to unite MNLF-Misuari, other MNLF factions and the MILF in one track according to his BPDR – imperiling the more the Bangsamoro.

[Author’s Note: Mind da News, the alternate of COMMENT, is a comment on current news. The author may be contacted at patponcediaz@yahoo.com.]


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