Thursday, 22 December 2011 14:00
These are hard times for Mindanao. While we are in the midst of this climatic disaster, we are being undermined by what appears to be an innocuous development; that of Saudi Arabia calling the two major separatist organizations in Mindanao to a summit which it will host.
This is the least that we expect from the leader of the Organization of Islamic Countries whose members are going through an unprecedented political upheaval that challenges dictatorial and oppressive regime. We consider the invitation of Saudi Arabia to the secessionist fronts an affront to the Philippine sovereignty for there could be no other agenda to be discussed in this forum but to take up the Front’s conflict with the government.
The internal conflict in our region is purely a domestic problem and we resent the intrusion of Saudi Arabia on our affairs. We are aware that not a few members of the OIC had been financing the struggles of the Fronts from day one. We saw relief when the enlightened Libyan people overthrew and ended the cruel regime of Moamar Khaddafy. The Libyan strongman had been a major donor to the secessionist fronts in the Philippines and had practically dictated the terms and conditions of the peace treaty that we had with the Moro National Liberation Front. To insure this, he saw to it that the financial aid to the Front is sustained. The end of his regime therefore has a very significant impact on the peace process and conflict in Mindanao. For the powerful and influential kingdom nation to deal with the separatists is indubitably dubious and does not provide any comfort to Mindanao in particular and the Philippines in general.
Saudi Arabia itself is not insulated from the rumblings of the activism of enlightened citizenry that started the Arab Spring. It should therefore absorb lesson from that and should cease from meddling in the affairs of other nations. If they have any concern at all, then they should address this to the legitimate leaders of the Philippines and not with the rebels. It is enough that Malaysia is acting as mediator in the peace negotiation between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government. We need not internationalize further our internal concerns and we should look with serious misgivings clandestine scheme by external influences to unite the forces of rebellion in our native land.
We have conceded enough to the secessionists to calm them down by granting them autonomy. If they fail in this because of their own undoing and corruption, then they have nobody to blame but themselves. But their failures of governance can be revisited anew to make the system work for a region that is largely inhabited by our Muslim brothers.
It would be to their best interest if Saudi Arabia and the members of the OIC keep their hands off in Mindanao affairs. They are better off listening to the voice of their own subjects who yearn for freedom. In this age of enlightenment autocracy and fiefdoms have no more place in the Middle East or the Arab nations and neither will it work in Mindanao.
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