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Stop the rhetoric


The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should not have any jitters over the failure of Presisdent Aquino’s State of the Nation Address.  While we share the same observation and resentment over the oversight it is better to gauge the government’s efforts to put an end to the conflicts and hostilities in terms of action than just rhetoric. That the peace talks was not mentioned the SONA has very little relevance. As far as the war-weary Muslims and Christians communities are concerned the sooner the government and the MILF ink the peace pact the better is their life and future will be.

We know that the peace process is moving forward although at snail’s pace.  The problem is that the parties are hedging and the MILF itself is wishy-washy over how they will treat the rogue elements and how they will deal with elements of the terrorist organizations who are still m0ving freely within their territory.

If the MILF are disappointed over the non-inclusion of the peace talks in Mindanao, we feel the same way and even more intensely over its lackadaisical moves to cleanse its ranks of criminal and terrorist elements.  But the fact is we do appreciate that the MILF has sent a strong message to its renegade commanders to shape up or be shipped out even as we still have to see a demonstration of sincerity in dealing with kidnap-for-ransom syndicates which have become an enterprise of Abu Sayyaf and so-called breakaway MILF forces.

Putting an end to decades-old conflict in Mindanao is what matters. If the MILF and the government are serious, you do not need a SONA to realize that goal. That may have been in the mind of the President for he knew as well as we do that so much talks had been wasted while the bones of thousands who had yearned for peace are scattered in the grounds which were once their rice and corn fields.

If you ask those who survive the useless and yet vicious conflicts everything is nothing but madness.  But they continue to hope even as hope springs eternal in this peace talk. For isn’t it insane that while Peace Adviser Teresita Q. Deles says President Aquino is even giving much attention to the peace talk as it is etched on his agenda, the MILF chief negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal insisted still that it would have been  better if the President mention that in his platform for peace in Mindanao.

On the other hand, we take it with a grain of salt  the statement of Iqbal when in confusion he asked: "I don't know the reason but there's a delay in the negotiation. Only the government knows," he added.  But then of course we knew that Iqbal is fully aware of the whys and wherefores in the peace talks. There is intellectual dishonesty in that as he knew that the Aquino government postponed the election in the autonomous region precisely as part of the strategy to end the rebellion problems in Mindanao. We like to believe that this is part of the government’s strategy which is aligned with the MILF proposal to have a sub-state for the Bangsa Moro People. That proposal is utopian knowing full well that the ARRM is peopled with Muslims, Christians and Lumads. 

Expanding the ARMM and giving the MILF the opportunity to govern for six years is a viable option. But this requires a process which cannot be done by cutting corners. We surmise that this may even take a constitutional amendments a matter which we very well can undertake rather than wasting more lives and opportunities for the coming generations who are exhausted by endless conflict and other aberrations of endless inconceivable agenda of those who refuse to live in peace. (MW)

By Menardo Wenceslao

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