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Fiefdoms and the conflict within

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Most of the problems that bedevil the Moroland specifically Maguindanao, Sulu and Basilan never ever fall under the so-called discrimination and other racial issues which very often we hear in other troubled lands. The never-ending peace negotiations have always centered their talks on the issues of historicity, domain, independence and self-governance and projected these as the cause of conflicts which had resulted in unnecessary loss of lives and dislocation hundreds of thousands of families whose only aspiration is to live a peaceful and productive life in their farms and simplicity of their homes.

While the secessionist fronts had indulged in adventurisms their attempts to establish an independent state failed as the government would never allow the dismemberment of the Philippines . The Fronts had relied mainly on the support of the Organization of Islamic Countries in their struggles. But the support, no matter how clandestine, has to come to an end for reasons that even members of the OIC themselves have been besieged by internal conflicts and terrorism waged by terrorists who wittingly or unwittingly derived sustenance also from them. This is the very reason why members of the OIC have counseled the Fronts to negotiate for peace within the ambit of the constitution and to respect the sovereignty of the Philippines.

There will always be segments in the combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, however, who will use force as a knee-jerk reaction like what happened when the draft Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The MILF hierarchy simply cannot control these radical elements within their organization. They pillage and they kill and they cause so much perdition and misery to Muslims, Lumads and Christian communities who yearn for a stable peace.

These days, much of the conflicts are bloody intramurals between tribes, clans and families. While this sounds isolated and confined, clans war or even family feud among Filipino Muslims have resulted in dislocations and loss of lives and livelihood among those who have nothing to do at all with the conflicts. The presence and use of heavy and high-caliber firearms in the hands of the warlords aggravates the problem. Ironically, most of them are also heads of the Islamic fronts. The conflicts are mostly agrarian base as such, one can surmise that their will be no immediate solution to quell the clashes for as the population grows the land does not and nothing that is available today will never be enough. It is moreover an extreme paradox that so much space and uncultivated arable lands lay idle in the fiefdoms of these warlords. It therefore aggravates the iniquity within that even if the peace pact will be signed by the MILF and the government today, there is no guarantee that tomorrow hostilities amongst clans and tribes will altogether dissipate.

But it will help if the peace negotiations between the MILF and the government will be resolved quickly for the next step is to address the hostilities among the warring clans. This one will be more complicated as it is endemic but there are a number of solutions available than resolving the conflicts with and at the barrel of a gun.

By MW




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