Table Talk: Quo vadis MILF, GPH PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 November 2011 14:43

BY Mike S Apostol

Over 30 years since December 0f 1976 when the first Peace Agreement was signed by the Philippine Government under President Ferdinand Marcos and the Moro National Liberation Front of Nur Misuari, known as the Tripoli agreement, Peace in Mindanao is still elusive. After President Marcos, three presidents followed after him or four to include Pnoy, all having the same main agenda of governance, peace talks, memorandum Of agreement, modernization of the Philippine Armed Forces, alleviation of poverty, generation of jobs and employment, more tax collection, etc. etc. But nothing substantial happened this three decades of governance with the promise of change. The only visible thing is, bloated national budget for favored departments in the Philippine government and dole-outs given to poverty stricken Filipino families disguised as program to boost the economy of the grassroots with the end in view that it will grow into a national interaction and the continuous importation of rice which meant that the millions of hectares of rice land in the country are not producing rice enough to feed every Filipino and there is still no peace in Mindanao. In fact after the MNLF went back to the folds of the law another secessionist movement surfaced — the Moro Islamic Liberation Front  — bringing our peace efforts to square one with UP Law Dean Atty. Leonen, [who may have only read the real problem of Mindanao in books and newspaper] as head of the government panel to discuss peace with the leaders of the battle scarred MILF.
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While innocent civilians are dying in the war-torn areas of Mindanao, the GPH and MILF have not yet agreed to include the most important topic of the peace talk and agreement the issue of Ancestral Domain. Without this issue and made part of the agreement, everything will be useless, unless the government will find another term as an alternative of Ancestral Domain, but, what? You can never be a semi-independent Governor (or whatever you may call it) without a territory, people and income. Or a General without an army.
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There are two issues of ancestral domain for the MILF. 1. dar-ul-mua’hada or territory under compact. 2. dar-ul-sulh or territory under peace agreement. This issue  is giving a headache to the government. Indeed it is because there is no clear definition for the two terms like what territory is considered under compact and what territory is under peace agreement. We believe that we are only talking parts of Mindanao as one of the agenda of the treaty and not the entire country.
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Scoop: Next issue the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao, are they part of the Bangsamoro people?