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Peace treaty in the offing?


The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is happy the elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao had been postponed. Ghadzali Jaafar, the MILF chair for political affairs even went ahead and complimented the Aquino government for deferring the polls and have it synchronized with the regular national elections.

This reaction is in fact to be expected from the Front in that it may have something to do with the peace agreement which may likely be achieved before the regular elections. The rationale behind it is that given the possibility that an agreement will be signed soon, the Aquino government may agree to giving the MILF a free run of the ARMM which expectedly will be expanded but limited only to highly Muslim populated areas. Which is not bad at all. Even the idea of according the MILF a chance to govern ARMM by say seven years to be able to prove that they can institute reforms in the badly corrupted regional government is not asking too much for as long as the culture of discipline and civility and more stable and meaningful peace in the region can be restored.

But some of these creative mechanisms in arriving at peaceful settlements are not actually that easy to achieve. Expanding ARMM for instance would require constitutional amendment. Allowing the MILF to govern like giving ARMM in a silver platter to them may need some constitutional or congressional edict. The other X-factor is of course the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which had earlier signed a peace treaty with the government. If the two fronts are in earnest to really achieve peace and development in the region then they can talk among themselves on how and who will be part of this landmark political exercise.

From the outside however, we are all in accord with these possibilities. Maybe one of the salient concern here is the issue of disarmament and the other of course is whether the MILF is capable of directing their renegade forces to lay down their arms in exchange for this opportunity to govern what is perceived to be the Moro land.

Anyhow, expectation is high the peace negotiation is moving and inching forward. It is worth the wait. And if we go by the schedule of the next regular elections, our educated guess is that an agreement will be signed sooner than expected. For which we say...cheers!

By Menardo Wenceslao

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