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Bangsamoro Peace in a Shrinking World

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IT is a very good thing and omen that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, despite the ongoing airline crisis gripping his nation, will come to Manila on Thursday, this week, to witness the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). Razak by his presence gives a clear and strong signal of the Islamic “ummah’s” support – at least from like-minded moderate Muslim states- for the making of new peace in Southeast Asia’s pivotal Mindanao. This neighborly support is made more stark by the fact that Malaysia 44 years ago produced the first groups of Moro rebels by training them in guerilla warcraft in an isolated island located in Razak’s country and then setting them loose on Mindanao. If in politics  (or geo-politics) there are no permanent friends and only permanent interests, then Malaysia’s turn-around support for Mindanao peace means there are also no permanent enemies.
It is this kind of political phenomenon – of a cycle of permanence and impermanence – that CAB shall critically need in order to keep the favorable local and international tide it now enjoys to keep rising until Bangsamoro reaches a certain summit of peace higher than ever attained before in Mindanao. As most Mindanao watchers know by now from the lessons of the recent past to include the checkered 1996 FPA, reaching that summit means not just signing a peace agreement, or passing a new Moro autonomy law, or electing its political hierarchy, but most of all getting all insurgent, social and economic parties to come aboard to give and get their share of the goodies. This call is especially urgent in regard to the various Moro rebel groups who choose to remain – and throw stones or heckle– from the peace process sidelines.

And then there are the so-called “spoilers”. From some others’ point of view, Zamboanga City is one of these spoilers because of its vehement criticism and ridiculing of CAB to prevent any possibility no matter how remote from its being straitjacketed into joining the Bangsamoro setup. This reasonable apprehension is unfortunately often spoiled by childish public comments – what with recent atrocities perpetrated within and around its walls. Beyond these sentiments, though, there is need to formulate a new political paradigm for Zamboanga City to become a promoter and no longer a spoiler of Bangsamoro-led peace, in a region wherein the city sits squarely in the middle – or in the crossfire.

At the root of globalization sweeping the world today in many endeavors is the modus of interdependence that makes internationalism real and beneficial. In like manner, CAB will more and more depend on the tidal support borne out of a pragmatic sense of interdependence and cooperation between and among all stakeholders to deliver Mindanao’s promise of big peace in a small and shrinking world.

(Peace Advocates Zamboanga)




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