After Bangsamoro: Do the Cordilleras, Visayas, and the rest of Mindanao have equal claim to autonomy?

Peace at last in Mindanao — or so people hope in the advent of greater autonomy granted by the government of President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III to rebellious Muslim groups there. The Framework Agreement covering the terms of this autonomy is set to be signed on the 15th of October this year between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) effectively creating an “enlarged Bangsamoro” autonomous region in Mindanao. Under those terms, the local government within the region which will include the current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and parts of Lanao del Norte and Cotabato among others, will be allowed implementation of Shari’ah Law and greater control over taxation.


[Photo courtesy The Age.]

President BS Aquino reportedly already sees potential in the region as “a hub of information technology and business process outsourcing companies.” This, Aquino foresaw on the basis of “an increasing number of IT-BPO companies investing in ‘next-wave cities’ such as Sta. Rosa in Laguna, Lipa in Batangas, and Dumaguete.”

“With the recently concluded framework agreement with the [Moro Islamic Liberation Front], we are very hopeful that there will come a day, and the not too distant future, when we see a number of IT-BPO companies operating in the Bangsamoro,’’ Aquino said.

The specifics surrounding the sort of thinking BS Aquino applied when he went from citing all the wondrous investment in IT-BPO enterprises in Laguna and Batangas to making a fearless forecast that these will also take root in Lanao and Cotabato is anybody’s guess. It is unlikely that business was the real motivator for ceding control over these areas to Filipino-Islamic rule. If that were so, then the Visayas region would’ve been the more logical candidate for the shot at political and economic autonomy.

If we are to believe some research done by PinoyExhange.com netizen ‘abanderado’, the Visayas region of the Philippines is a lot riper for full autonomy and even secession going by some back-of-the-envelope economic indicators alone. With a 2009 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD29 billion, the Visayas region is a bigger economy than North Korea, Bahrain, and Brunei. And with a per capita GDP on the same year of USD1,640, the region’s people are on the average richer than those in India, Vietnam, and Pakistan.

An interesting question is then raised under this light:

Does violence pay?

Considering that the Visayas region actually possesses the economic chops and consistent track record of self-determination to be the autonomous state it too has aspired to be, the fact that the Oscar went to a group whose hands are stained by the blood of thousands of Filipino soldiers spilt over several decades defending the internal integrity of the Republic is very telling indeed.

The Bangsamoro is only one of several other hypothetical states within the Philippines that each have legitimate, albeit varying, claims to autonomy. In his book A Country of Our Own, award-winning author and intellectual David Martinez tables a provocative proposal that sees the possible breakup of the Philippine Republic into five autonomous regions…

The country in [Martinez’s] eyes comprises five regions (“nations”): Cordillera, Luzon, The Visayas, Mindanao, and Bangsamoro. He proposes holding legally binding referenda in each of these places to determine whether those who live there wish to remain inside the Philippines or form their own independent country.

The Philippines, after all, is no more than an artificial state originally created by the Spanish crown mainly for the purpose of consolidating and streamlining colonial administration of its assets in the region. The former countries of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and now internally-unstable Rwanda, come to mind when one thinks of what the Philippines is all about — an agglomeration of fiefdoms that remain stuck together for the purpose of keeping alive nostalgic relics of 19th Century “nationalist” thinking and not for any real practical or measurable ends befitting a modern 21st Century society.

If autonomy can be considered — and granted — to Bangsamoro, then so too should the same be evaluated and considered for the other four regions Martinez posits. Perhaps the time has come for us to re-think the continued existence of a nation named after an Inquisitous Spanish king.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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57 Comments on "After Bangsamoro: Do the Cordilleras, Visayas, and the rest of Mindanao have equal claim to autonomy?"

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Hyden Toro
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Aquino is in delusion…It’s a state within a state. Who will invest in such place…

MR.KREIG
Guest

Yes,you are correct.At a time when the country wants to appear stable so as to attract western corporations investments,what happens?
‘Hey,lets carve up the country,institute sharia ‘kill the infidels’ law,that will really impress the wests corporations and get them to invest,huh?’.Whhhaaaattt?
ya cant make this shit up.Filipino logic maybe?I dunno,but if it weren’t so tragic for the Christians in Cotabato,it would be absolutely fuckin hilarious.Pretty funny anyway.

MR.KREIG
Guest
Let’s face it,the guy callin the shots here:if his last name was Rodriguez or Smithawitz,he could not get elected dog-catcher. The slightly off kilter gait,sideways silly ass grin suggest a droppin on the skull during infancy.Despite the best of efforts,something is missing and probably always will be.At a critical time the people made a critical mistake and are now stuck with it.Kinda like in the states,the guy just doesn’t measure up.It doesn’t necessarily make him a bad guy,but….He just doesn’t have what it takes to lead a country. This decision and signing the cyber-crime law are all being watched and… Read more »
T4Man
Guest

The ARMM didn’t work and neither will this. Sadly, Hillary and the other wonks are praising this so-called “peace”. It’ll go on for a short time then the “moros” will return to their guns. The idiots in Manila only know how to shuffle paper but have no intention (idea?) how to unify a country and create prosperity. If people feel like part of a greater whole rather than disenfranchised they are more willing to live in peace. That will simply not be the case in “Bangsamoro”.

alconce
Guest
This new sub state is also adopting a religion of their choice. The inclusion of a sharia law confirms it. It is therefore a pseudo theocratic state. Our constitution is supposed to be secular. Why is it endorsing a specific religion incurring huge expenses in the process? Is that not illegal? What will happen to those lands owned by other inhabitants with different religious affiliations? There will be peace if those warring tribes and political warlords be disarmed, not by surrendering an arm and a leg to a bunch of remnant tribes who wants to rule the majority that consists… Read more »
T4Man
Guest

Trying to create a nation by chopping it up into pieces is like saying “I’ll get rich if I spend all my money”.
Idiots!

PHguy
Guest

WHat nation? The “Filipino” nation? Pinoy nation? We were never one nation. I’m not saying this from a dramatic nationalist cry-baby perspective. I’m basing this purely from a linguistic, cultural and historical perspective

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[…] It is time for our brothers to be granted autonomy to improve their states and their individual live… […]

T4Man
Guest

Looking at history, say Great Britain or the United States, success was achieved when the country was united. I doubt the US would be a world power if they still operated under the Articles of Confederation. The Philippines needs to create unity, a grand vision, a sense of being one people rather than re-enforcing the “tribal” mentality of operating in tiny groups. Granting autonomy to every group that kicks up a fuss detracts from interdependence and trust which is desperately needed here.

PHguy
Guest
Unity? One city is enough to be plundered by its own politicians what more if an entire lump of artificially-agglutinized land (read: Philippines) which we get a taste of everyday? We were never of one identity in the first place. 100++ years in the making and still stuck at phase 1. Face it; it’s a failure all along. The Visayas can stand on its own. Non-Moro Mindanao can do so as well. And for the record, Visayans aren’t tribes. Tying us with constitutinal chains under one “state” never turned us “civilized”” as you wished for because we never were from… Read more »
PHguy
Guest

**never were barbarians in the beginning.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
War is deceit. This is part of the supremacist dogma in the green book. I see the peace negotiating table as an extension of the battlefield. We lost heavily here due more to the government dealing from a position of weakness. Were all stakeholders from the Philippine side consulted or informed of the peace negotiations? My God! Even our Armed Forces of the Philippines has to ask permission to enter occupied Philippine territory which the MILF calls its territory. Even the majority stakeholders in Mindanao were never consulted. Because of this I also see Mr. BS Aquino as a staunch… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest
Why is the Malaysian Prime Minister a signatory? Many will interpret this as a direct interference into our sovereignty. Expect Malaysian interference in the near future. Their interest in the Philippines is disturbing. BS Aquino may have knowingly or unknowingly waived our sovereignty in allowing access to a so-called International Monitoring Team (IMT)within our territorial jurisdiction in Mindanao. Malaysian Major Generals and their staff are on the ground in Mindanao. If memory serves me right even Libyans were allowed in. The truth is Muslims aid each other. What guarantees does BS Aquino offer that there will be lasting peace and… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Does the framework also state that the MILF/bangsamoro will dissolve the tactical alliance with the CPP-NPA-NDF in Mindanao? Was the demobilization and disarmament also extended to include the support elements of the MILF in splinter groups, lost commands, its armed civilian “pintakasi” supporters, Abu-Sayaff, J.I. and allied lawless elements? Does the agreement include the surrender of all wanted criminal elements or those who commit criminal acts?

Jih
Guest
Not much was said in this piece, or perhaps I was expecting more thoughts from Get Real on the Framework Agreement, but it affirms my belief that you guys are more sensible than the rest. Indeed the Philippines is a nation forced to come together and sing the national anthem with no sense of nationalism in mind. The Bangsamoro had clamored for the correction of the mistake of them being lumped into the larger Philip-pines despite their announced disagreement to such arrangement evident in their letter to the US Congress. Other regions, especially the Visayas, I do believe, also wish… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Can BS Aquino absolutely guarantee the protection of the lives, liberty and properties of all infidels(non-Muslims) living within or adjacent the proposed MILF/bangsamoro state?

Will he go to war in case the Dhimmitude and the jizya tax is imposed on our non-Muslim citizens who will suffer the most? The following quote is for BS Aquino and his followers: “Any appeasement of tyranny is treason to this republic and to the democratic ideal.” -William Allen White

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
Who is the genius who proposed that the MILF/bangsamoro should be integrated into the Philippine National Police? Do they know what they are doing? Opening the door to infiltration into the PNP is not only stupid but naive. So we have a situation that allows these people to literally ‘serve’ us in Mindanao. See the list of bangsamoro recruits below that can be integrated into the PNP: Unit: MILF fighters is PNP approved. Unit: MILF lost command is PNP approved. Unit: MILF splinter fighters is PNP approved. Unit: Abu Sayaff Group is PNP approved. Unit: J.I. Al Qaeda in Asia… Read more »
Gogs
Member

The government has no shortage of “geniuses” .

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Welcome to the straight and wide path of Mr. BS Aquino. The political sellout of Mindanao.

Aegis-Judex
Guest
Unit: MILF fighters is PNP approved. (Meh…) Unit: MILF lost command is PNP approved. (Meh…) Unit: MILF splinter fighters is PNP approved. (What??) Unit: Abu Sayaff Group is PNP approved. (Wait, what?) Unit: J.I. Al Qaeda in Asia is PNP approved. (WHAT??!) Unit: Lawless elements is PNP approved. (Impossible.) Unit: Civilian pintakasi support is PNP approved. (Pintakasi? I looked it up and it read as “celebration of cockfighting.”) Integration is going to be insanely tough, but if they’re not terrorists, I find little reason to bring them as a whole into the fold. All the need is to deal with… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Appeasement from another viewpoint:

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/item/5485-‘ap-piece-ment’

Gilby
Guest

I fully support the BangsaMoro State and its full independence once time comes. I will also support the other nations to become independent countries. It’s been long overdue. Once the Philippines is balkanized and there are more Philippines (or probably Metro Manila being left as Philippines), progress will be seen. It is up to those other independent states to advances to first world status. The sorry ass Philippines will still be left as third world country, they deserve it.

Gilby
Guest

Erratum: Once the Philippines is balkanized and there IS NO MORE Philippines (or probably Metro Manila being left as Philippines), progress will be seen.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

@Gilby

LOL!!! Are you a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines or a virulent alien life form?

Aegis-Judex
Guest

He does have a point, though… If forced unity turns out to be detrimental to the people involved (cf. Soviet Russia) why not balkanize?

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
It started and will end with BS Aquino. His unexplained trip to Tokyo, Japan was for a purpose. There was no consultations made with his boss a.k.a. the Sovereign Filipino People. The secret talks(still secret) was seen by many as a conspiracy with the enemies of the state. He did them a favor by recognizing them and crowning them with a status of belligerency. This was and will be done many times over. Monday will see the arrival of the malaysian prime minister Najib Razak(who by the way is also Muslim)and Organization Of Islamic Conference secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and the… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest
Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Straight from the mouth of a member of the elite security detail guarding MILF/bangsamoro leader Murad:

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/45385/some-milf-rebels-dont-want-to-give-up-arms-despite-peace-deal-with-govt

MR.KREIG
Guest

Ha…Now that I think about it:

‘Bangsamorro’= a bass-ackward way of saying…Wait
for it…Wait…a li’l more…uuuh…uuuhhh…here it comes…

‘Mor’e Bangs to’morro’w…You know? Who is the one who came up with this one…Weird Al ‘Yank’ovic? OR Comedy Central…’I wants me sumz mo’ thickenin’ gravy,Godsnamzit.’.Ya just can’t make this up.

Just when ya think you’ve heard every bad joke you could ever possibly hear…and the hits just keep on comin….time to ‘send in the clowns’!

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

The darkness creeps slowly over the land. More analysis from the Daily Tribune:
http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/commentary/item/5570-noy-‘achievements’-via-yellow-propaganda

MR.KREIG
Guest
I just watched the ceremony.The Prime Minister of Malaysia has just said that ‘any discord or violence in the area’,Bangsamorro,’must be met with patience,tolerance and a view towards human rights and religious freedom.’. This sounds to me like the Philippines has just allowed a Foreign Ruler to dictate what government policy,in a country not his own?,will be implemented in a country that has just seceeded from The Philippines.The Philippines,whether it realizes it or not has just had part of its country seceede from the rest of the country.I do not know if this is a sad day for any Filipino’s… Read more »
Gogs
Member
Just maybe. Noynoy had tunnel vision and wanted some window dressing not caring what the cost for that window dressing me be whether its financial or autonomy or whatever. As long as he gets press coverage and the all important pogi points. Something to trumpet and bet his chest to. Damn long term ramifications, let the next guy deal with it. Wouldn’t be the first time where something came out of nowhere and heralded as revolutionary when its really smoke and mirrors. Remember this saying “all icing and no cake” . May apply to a lot of politicians but it… Read more »