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An Interim Peace Agreement?


The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front should agree on certain terms if it is peace that they are genuinely negotiating for. The MILF however has to accept the fact that the only non-negotiable item in their protracted talks is the Philippine sovereignty which means that not an inch of its territory will be subject to a compromise in the bargaining table.

It is obvious that what the MILF leaders want is for a self-rule over a territory which they claim as their ancestral domain. The "self rule" here can only be possible if the Constitution will be changed. Nevertheless granting that there will be charter change and provisions will be such that it will grant the Bangsa Moro people the right to run its state of affairs, still their domain cannot be excised from the Philippine Republic which will still exercise its sovereignty as to be appropriately defined later. There is something rational to the proposition that only through charter change and a federal form of government can the clamor of the MILF for self-rule be realized.

Except for the MILF secessionist agenda, the concept of self-governance is what the rest of Visayans and Mindanawons desired: to be free from the so-called "imperial Manila". But then again this will necessitate charter change.

It is apparent therefore that could possibly bring a quick and lasting solution to the conflicts in Mindanao is federalism. Ironically moreover, there has been a strong lobby against it even from the regions who cry against the centrist government. And this include the influential religious sector who preaches peace but doubts the politicians' motive behind charter change.

In the meantime moreover, the government and the MILF must hammer an interim agreement that can lead to a stable peace. This, they ought to agree on in the meantime that we bid our time for the opportunity to come for the charter change to be realized.(MW)

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