Looking into the Bigger Picture behind the Mamasapano Incident and the BBL

It is not surprising that pundits, political analysts/scientists, opinion writers as well as government officials and a whole heap of politicians are quick to make commentaries and “analyses” on the Mamasapano encounter soon after it was brought to public attention.

Expectedly, policians’ and government officials viewed the unfortunate event based on their limited political interests and plans for the next elections; some opinion makers had theirs on the basis of which side of the political fence they are protecting and benefitting from; certain civil society organizations’ (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) had founded their positions on their ideological, political, and organizational orientations; while political analysts/commentators/ academics’ interpretations were myopic and had no added value to public’s education.

bangsamoro_basic_lawNo independent fact-finding mission was ever conducted worthy of respect. The findings of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry, Senate’s Report, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Investigation Report were meant to serve and protect each other’s interests, hence those implicated in whichever report refused to accept its verdicts. Conclusions were made and prejudged even before the facts have been examined and truth revealed.

What transpired was a “blame game,” accusations were exchanged between and among politicians and organizations (“revolutionary” and otherwise) who cannot accept sole responsibility for the objectionable event. Focus has been on organizational politics rather than getting the job done, while the grieving families of victims remain frustrated, demoralized, and disgusted over the turn of events.

What is more appalling, which I think is most important, is the timing. The bloodshed occurred at the period when the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is under consideration by the lawmakers in both chambers of the Legislature. The BBL, chiselled out for a year by government and MILF peace panels after the final peace agreement (the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro [CAB]) was signed, is now the victim of the Mamasapano conflict; a collateral damage (in military parlance) as a result of a legitimate operation of police commandos (Special Action Force [SAF]) against two high-ranking Jemaah Islamiyah-affiliated terrorists (Zulkifli Abdhir [also known as Marwan] and Abdul Basit Usman).

In the attempt to resuscitate the BBL and save it from shredding it further apart from the pointed teeth and powerful jaws of wolves in government, President Benigno Aquino III formed the peace council on 27 March which will lead a National Peace Summit to “deliberate on and discuss the BBL,” as if it will make any difference.

The Real Issue and the Big Picture

As commentators, analysts, CSOs/NGOs, and politicians were too absorbed with the Mamasapano incident and the BBL, and argue from emotions rather than reason, they miserably missed the real issue and big picture of the problem – the Bangsamoro self-determination struggle.

At the core of Muslim self-determination struggle is self-governance and political autonomy. This clamour started as early 1920s, 15 years before the establishment of the Commonwealth Republic and 26 years before the Americans granted Philippine independence. Nearly a century, 95 years to be exact, had passed and the Muslim minorities have not relinquished their demand. The issues have fundamentally been the same — government’s continued apathy and negligence of the Muslims’ legitimate demands.

Unless this issue is conclusively addressed, there will be more Mamasapanos, more “peace agreements” will fail, and more “autonomous” politico-governmental entities will break down. Hence armed conflict will persists in Mindanao.

What is the Right to Self-Determination (RSD)?

The concept and definition self-determination is broad and encompasses both external and internal dimensions. External self-determination usually refers to the right of people to secede its conceived territory from an existing state while internal self-determination concerns the choice of a system of governance and the administration of the functions of governance according to the will of the governed.

In both respects, self-determination is an acknowledged principle of the basic human right of individuals to participate in democratic governance.  This includes the individual’s right to engage in the political, economic or cultural system of the state. Secondly, it is a collective right of groups  as  national,  religious, ethnic or linguistic minorities to express, practice,  and  promote  their own culture, life-ways, language, and  religion which require  protection  from the  state.  Thirdly, it is a right of people to their homeland or claimed territory which embodies their identity, culture, and political autonomy. Finally, the right to self-determination, especially the claim to one’s territory, has to enjoy the state’s consent.

Thus, while people are entitled to their territory, this does not necessarily extend to a free determination of the international legal status of the territory. The right is bounded by the endorsement or rejection by the state concerned taking into account the physical or geographical and demographical changes that have occurred in the area that people have “historical claim.”

In the international law literature on self-determination, two main views are pulling in opposite directions. The first is the more restrictive which limits the exercise of the right to self- determination within the confines of the territorial jurisdiction of existing states; the right cannot be invoked if the territorial unity of the state will be transgressed. The second is expansionary which acknowledges and, to varying degrees, validates state-busting practice in a reformulated legal approach. The latter view takes due note of the degree to which non- sovereign territories of the Soviet Union (12 out of 15 republics seceded from the former USSR), Yugoslavia (Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo) and Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic and Slovakia), were given diplomatic recognition and admitted to the UN as sovereign states.

The controversy on the principle and right to self-determination has led peoples and states to armed conflict. Struggles for autonomy and secession on the defense of peoples’ national rights are politically and militarily confronted by the state, invoking its right to protect the inviolability of its territory. Peoples of the world are told they have the right to self-determination.  Nevertheless, if this right is suppressed by a sovereign state, the international community supports territorial integrity until a war of independence is successful. As in the past, the entire problem is settled on the battlefield. The conflict has been the source of tremendous human suffering and destruction in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Bangsamoro self-identity and RSD

It is against this backdrop that Muslims in Mindanao framed their struggle for self-governance and political autonomy under the right to self-determination. The 1920 peaceful quest for a separate Muslim nation-state was re-sparked less than 50 years later when about 28 out of less than 200 Muslim military trainees, mostly Tausug and Samal from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi who were undergoing guerrilla warfare training in Corregidor Island, were summarily executed on 18 March 1968 in what was known as the Jabidah massacre. Notwithstanding a few congressional hearings on the issue, no one was arrested and held responsible for the ghastly massacre.

The injustice that Muslims got from the state led to the launching of a couple of Muslim separatist organizations which eventually were co-opted by then President Marcos and relinquished their vision of a separate Muslim state — Udtog  Matalam (then  Cotabato province governor) and Raschid Lucman (a member of the House of Representatives) who formed the Muslim (later renamed Mindanao, to include Christians as well as non-Christian/non-Muslim indigenous tribes) Independence Movement (MIM) in 1968, and the Bangsa Moro Liberation Organisation (BMLO)  in 1971 respectively. The Moro in BMLO was later dropped and adopted Bangsa Muslimin Islamic Liberation Organisation (BMILO) in1984.

The failure of both organizations to carve out Muslim nation-state from the Philippines was perceived by the younger and more militant BMILO members as a sign of capitulation. The frustration and disgust caused by the leadership, by and large composed of Muslim politicians and traditional elite of Muslim society, led to the founding of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) by Nur Misuari in mid-1971.

The MNLF sets it apart from the two (2) previous organizations. It conceived to re-claim the Bangsa Moro (Moro Nation), as the homeland of 13 ethno-linguistic Muslim groupings “unjustifiably annexed by the Philippine state” and to wage war against Muslim traditional politicians and aristocratic leaders who cooperated with the Philippine state. In the maiden issue of Mahardika, MNLF’s clandestine newsletter, Misuari called upon his brethren to renounce their identities as Filipino-Muslims and declare their identity and nationality as “Moro,” a reincarnation of the pre-colonial identity as the descendants of the “unsubjugated” and “uncolonised” peoples (in Gowing 1985: 185). On this occasion Misuari distinguished the Moros from Filipinos (collectively referred to as “indio” until 1872) which symbolises the Christianised, Hispanised, and subjugated people of the Philippines.

Misuari transformed the epithet “Moro” into a positive identity of the Muslims and symbol of unity and pride in the course of national resistance against the Philippine state. The ethnicising of Muslim identity was a consequence of the awakening of Muslim self-consciousness. What looked to be the state’s prejudices against the Muslims had found a national expression.

Despite the differences between the more secular MNLF and more Islamic MILF (a breakaway faction of MNLF in 1977 after the conclusion of the 1976 GRP-MNLF Tripoli Agreement), they are intractably united in tracing the historical roots of their Moro identity and the existence of a Bangsa Moro centuries before the advent of colonialism; a Moro nation-state that never succumbed to colonial rule but was illegitimately annexed by the current Philippine republic regarded as alien. They speak of the same “national past” and a “national future” which could be realized by trekking different paths.

While factionalism in the Bangsamoro struggle, either among or between traditional political elite or new intellectual and counter-elite had existed historically, which by the way is common in all movements and organization, identities have not dissolved and primordial interests have been sustained. They were seldom surrendered to the imposing power of the Philippine state.

Ethnic ties have emotional, psychological, and religious depths that are not easily severed. These are human ontological factors which cannot be subjected to authoritative controls; thus, no amount of coercion or repression can contain Moros aspirations to self-determination in an extended period of time in spite of their difficulty to transcend their innate ethno-linguistic identity. Nonetheless, this differences did not prevented them to work and relate with each other ethnic amicably—both Muslim and Christian. This is attested by the presence of Christians and Muslim converts in several armed and unarmed Moro organisations. The cultural boundary has been permeable and spongy.

Indeed, the linkage between Moro identity and territory is intricately intertwined. Nicos Poulantzas, emphasising the importance of territory to the notion of group self-identity, refers to the “historicity of a territory and territorialization of a history”—a territorial tradition concretized in the homeland. A territory by itself is a human construct which serves as the material basis in defining and redefining human, group, ethnic, and social relations. It is the source of one’s social security, assistance, dependency, sociability, and intimacy. It assures the continuity of culture and endurance of collective memory of peoples. As such, the concepts of space and territory are of extreme importance in ensuring the tenacity of one’s identity and survival as a people.

Hence, Bangsamoro’s self-definition bears on the goals that need to be pursued not without but with the re-claim of the territory perceived to have been illegitimately annexed by the Philippine state. The right over their ancestral domain is none other than the right to their homeland—the Bangsamoro territory. It is not only about claims and rights to obtain ancestral domain titles as what the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 IPRA promises, but the right to self-determination and the correction of historical injustices.

The absence of or restriction to such control may invariably threaten the fulfilment of the peoples’ rights and imperil their identity to a particular territory. In this respect, the anxiety of the Bangsamoro over the future of their homeland simply infers their lack of full control over their lives. The right of a group with a distinctive politico territorial identity to determine its own destiny is the political translation of aspirations in the demands for self-determination. Judge Hardy Dillard of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), writing in a separate opinion on the Western Sahara Case, says that: “It is for the people to determine the destiny of the territory and not the territory the destiny of the people.” (Williams 1988: 217).

The crux the Bangsamoro struggle, past and present, is essentially a quest to the right of self-determination. It is the process of Bangsamoro nation-building. And in the process, it has to defy the state and its authorities, and confront their armed forces. Separatist movements, like in other countries, have to demonise the threats of the state as the enemy and mobilises the masses to take collection action against such threats. It has to appeal to an educated Muslim middle class and is invariably populist, intended to induct the masses into politics. Leaders present themselves as rulers as well as rebels in order to supplant the jurisdiction of the alienized state with their own localized version.

History making or myth making is part and parcel an idea in the whole process of nation-creation. Historical accuracy is not vital in constituting a nation since the story is told for the purpose of self-definition. What is important  is that  stories should  be generally believed  or that  there  should  be  substantial  convergence  in the versions of a story that are to be believed. Stories are not only needed at the time during which a national  identity is being created,  it is also required  for one  to  understand  what it means  to  be a Bangsamoro and one has to accept  a version or some versions of the common story to grasp the significance of one’s identity.

What is to be done

Moro conflict is sparked and protracted more by the centralism of the state and inadequate democratic space that limits the self- governing power of the minorities, particularly the Muslims in southern Philippines. The tenacity and seriousness of the conflict remains complicated with the unremitting inability of the state to substantially and decisively address, over a long period, its core causes insubstantial  political autonomy; socio-economic grievances and deprivation; and perceived injustice, discrimination, and alienation of the people from the mainstream of Philippine political and economic development. The issue boils down to political and economic equity and social justice, the crux of the state’s responsibility and kernel of nation’s spirit.

It is essential therefore that Moros be drawn within the domain of the state and make them feel that they are part and foremost stakeholder of the Philippine nation. The sense of Moros’ separateness as a people can be altered or modified. Perceptions are neither fixed nor permanent. They change as material conditions change; identities and communal interests also change and are equally malleable and pliant as they interact with the power of the state.

Yet, the process of reversing such outlooks and feelings of alienation and transcending ethnic boundaries also demand a strategic approach of sustained and indefatigable efforts and commitment on the part of the state towards greater democratisation, meeting the new challenges of mosaic democracy and heterogeneous development. It requires the state to redefine itself and adopt an institutional framework of governance that would allow the expression of democracy in kaleidoscopic forms.

Obviously, the meaning of democracy is violated when minority groups lack any reasonable chance to take part in the policymaking process in government on a more or less permanent basis without suffering from the “tyranny of the majority.” In other words, the rule of the majority or “majoritarian democracy” in deeply divided societies is likely to be profoundly undemocratic.

Since the post-colonial years the unitary state has worked towards the integration, assimilation, and transformation of multiple ethnic identities into a single national identity—a downward exertion of state nationalism. The nationalism of the state is materialised through the assimilation and integration of minorities into the majority’s culture, system of governance, and socio-economic structure. This tends to destroy minority rights and cultures even when there is no conscious intent to do so. State nationalism is henceforth resisted by those groups who do not see themselves as part of the Philippine nation. They feel strongly against the erosion of their self-identity and see it as a gross violation of their political, economic, and cultural rights.

The threat of national disintegration will continue until an appropriate institutional framework for political governance which can accommodate Mindanao’s social and ethnic diversity is ensconced. Apart from re-engineering political institutions in Mindanao, there is a need to lay emphasis, at least at the local level, on good governance, the rule of law, improved civil-military relations, accountability of public officials for corruption, and human rights protection.

An alternative  to external self-determination  is to seek  substantial and  meaningful  political and  cultural autonomy  within the  Philippine political system not  necessarily within the  current  presidential  unitary system as defined in the constitution. Conferring a semi-sovereign status resembling a federal structure of governance to Muslim areas of Mindanao would be an option that the state can work on to further the nation-state building not only of the Philippines but also of the Muslims.

A “unified approach” in bringing together various ethnic, religious, and national groups into the Philippine nation- state in general and Mindanao in particular can be a promising politico- administrative instrument in dealing with the complexity of living in a physical environment where people of differing ethnicities, religious beliefs, and cultures thrive and prosper, and conflicts are resolved and justice claimed in a non-violent means.

Whether or not the state would be able to meet the challenges of nation-building and national unity is difficult to surmise at this point. Definitely, there will be no quick fixes and no shortcuts. Wounds that have festered for a long time cannot be healed overnight, nor can confidence be built or dialogue developed while fresh wounds are being inflicted. It is a process that requires special and extra effort on the part of the state to guarantee human rights and uphold the rights of people to their own development.

In as much as conflict is created in one’s mind, peace can likewise be a product of one’s mind. One of the critical elements therefore in conflict resolution is the conscious construction of a positive outlook towards building a new and better relationship to an erstwhile archenemy. The courage in seeking to come to terms with the past is an essential part of the search for a new way forward.

References

Gowing, “Moros and Khaek: The Position of Muslim Minorities in the Philippines and Thailand,” in Readings on Islam in Southeast Asia, compiled by A. Ibrahim, S. Siddique, and Y. Hussain (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1985), 184–185.

Williams, C.H. 1988. “Minority Nationalist Historiography.” In R.J. Johnston, D.B. Knight & E. Kofman (eds.), Nationalism, Self Determination and Political Geography. New York: Croom Helm.

[Photo courtesty SERDEF.org.]

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About Rollie Buendia

Consultant in Southeast Asian politics and International development. Formerly Associate Professor at De La Salle University-Manila and Teaching Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, London, UK.

22 Comments on “Looking into the Bigger Picture behind the Mamasapano Incident and the BBL”

  1. Hello!

    I have a few questions and comments on some of your points.

    What is stopping the “moros” from engaging in the political, economic or cultural system of the state? I mean, aren’t Filipinos all in the same boat as far as being ignored by the politicians? The only difference is, there are armed rebel groups preventing the government from building infrastructure and likewise, scaring investors from investing in some regions in Mindanao, which are for me, the main reasons why the region seem more backward compared to the rest of the other regions in country.

    Why weren’t the other rebel groups invited to the “peace” negotiation table? What qualifies the MILF to represent the Muslims in Mindanano? To quote an Inquirer article: “This is a peace process where government entered into agreement with only one sector of Moro Mindanao. But who truly are the stakeholders? “The issue is NOT sincerity but this: Does the MILF represent the Moro populace? There are four ‘gatekeepers’ of the Moro polity: (1) The traditional leaders—the governors, mayors, chairs and council members at various government levels; (2) the Moro National Liberation Front; (3) the MILF; and (4) the religious leaders.”

    At the core of Muslim self-determination struggle is self-governance and political autonomy.

    I don’t get this. There are a lot of Muslims who do not have a problem integrating and assimilating with the rest of the Philippine population. In fact, in other places like Singapore, people of different faiths including Muslims get along well.

    What transpired was a “blame game,” accusations were exchanged between and among politicians and organizations (“revolutionary” and otherwise) who cannot accept sole responsibility for the objectionable event. Focus has been on organizational politics rather than getting the job done, while the grieving families of victims remain frustrated, demoralized, and disgusted over the turn of events.

    I agree. Unfortunately, PNoy, Purisima and Roxas lead the blame game. PNoy never misses an opportunity to blame either Purisima or Napenas or sometimes, his critics for what happened in Mamasapano.

    The BBL, chiselled out for a year by government and MILF peace panels after the final peace agreement (the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro [CAB]) was signed, is now the victim of the Mamasapano conflict; a collateral damage (in military parlance) as a result of a legitimate operation of police commandos (Special Action Force [SAF]) against two high-ranking Jemaah Islamiyah-affiliated terrorists (Zulkifli Abdhir [also known as Marwan] and Abdul Basit Usman).

    I disagree. The deaths of the SAFs exposed the flaws of the proposed law. If not for the massacre, most Filipinos would have remained ignorant of a policy that would give billions of taxpayers’ money to a rebel group without any guarantee that peace in the region will be achieved. Now more people know that the majority of Christians in Mindano were not consulted about the agreement between PNoy and MILF to give a big chunk of Mindanao to a Muslim rebel group and their supporters. Despite the lack of justice, we are comforted by the fact that the deaths of the SAFs were not in vain.

    The 1920 peaceful quest for a separate Muslim nation-state was re-sparked less than 50 years later when about 28 out of less than 200 Muslim military trainees, mostly Tausug and Samal from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi who were undergoing guerrilla warfare training in Corregidor Island, were summarily executed on 18 March 1968 in what was known as the Jabidah massacre. Notwithstanding a few congressional hearings on the issue, no one was arrested and held responsible for the ghastly massacre.

    There are people who say that the Jabidah massacre was a hoax and that it didn’t happen in the first place. What can you say to this?

    Obviously, the meaning of democracy is violated when minority groups lack any reasonable chance to take part in the policymaking process in government on a more or less permanent basis without suffering from the “tyranny of the majority.” In other words, the rule of the majority or “majoritarian democracy” in deeply divided societies is likely to be profoundly undemocratic.

    The thinking minority in the entire Philippine archipelago has been suffering from the “tyranny of the majority” for a long time. They keep voting for incompetent leaders like PNoy.

    The way I see it, most Filipinos in the Philippines feel they have been ignored by the government. Some complain and protest but majority do it peacefully and do not use weapons or terrorise the public to get attention.

    1. Thank you for your comments.

      For your two comments, (1st and 2nd pars.) may I refer you to my article “The State-Moro Conflict: Unresolved National Question or Question of Governance,” Asian Journal of Political Science Vol. 13, No. 1 (June 2005). (pp. 109-138) which I understand you haven’t read. You can also access it via Google, just type my name: rizal g. buendia. This paper will enlighten as well as educate you.

      For your 3rd comment, you can also read my paper, “Looking into the Future of Moro Self Determination in the Philippines,” Philippine Political Science Journal Vol. 29, No. 52, 2008 (pp. 1-24). You can also google it.

      I think your 5th point is irrelevant. The par. you quoted has nothing to do with the process of law-making which is the subject of your comment. I suggest that your re-read it and understand it.

      Sixth, you can check congressional hearing in the HOR archives. I also referred to this primary document in my paper “State-Moro Conflict…” For the detailed account, you can read M. D. Vitug and Glenda Gloria, Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao (Quezon City: Ateneo Centre for Social Policy and Public Affairs and Institute for Popular Democracy, 1999), 1–23.

      For your last point, may I refer you another article of mine, “Ethnicity and Empowerment: Looking Beyond the Theory of ‘Democracy’ in Governance,” Philippine Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 38, No. 4 Oct. 1994, University of the Philippines. (pp. 365-384)

      As what I do in my classes both in the Philippines and in London, I ask my students first to read before they make comments and ask sensible questions. It saves time and gives more opportunity for a more intelligent and quality discussion and education.

      Thanks for your comments and hope you’ll have time to read the papers I mentioned for your enlightenment.

      1. I don’t think my questions are irrelevant. They are very simple questions. They only need simple answers. Like this one: “Why weren’t the other rebel groups invited to the “peace” negotiation table?”

        You seem confident that I will “understand” and be “enlightened” once I have read your papers. I wonder if your papers addresses the recent argument that the Jabidah massacre was simply a hoax and why PNoy only negotiated with one rebel group. I will read your “papers” if I find the time. Unfortunately, I barely had time to read your article above.

        I think that if you really know your subject well, you wouldn’t have a problem responding to simple questions.

        Sometimes responding to other people’s questions will help you understand the subject even more. 😉

  2. Wow,,,IMO…your missing the even BIGGER picture. There is a covert operation raging 1/3 of the way around the world,to the Philippines West. The so called ‘battle-ground’ in Southern Mindanao is nothing more (and nothing less too!) than a training ground(think about it: a sea-locked place that 90%+ of the world doesn’t even know exists is the perfect place for the ‘training ground’) than a ‘training-ground for recruits to be drafted into the conflict that is raging 1/3 of the way around the world.
    SO, it doesn’t matter what happens in the local gov’t’s of the Philippines.This is not going to stop.Mark these words, and it is because: there is a International component to the ‘battle-ground’ that is flying right over the people’s heads.Realizing this component will give the people a different perspective,but what do they do w/that?it is too complicated and the Filipino will be unable to not only comprehend but collectivize the means necessary to do anything about it. So, believe this or not….it is not going to stop, you probably can do nothing about it, so get out now….while you still can.

      1. What is behind the BBL? the fact that nothing is being done to prohibit the ‘training grounds’? HUH?With the title having ‘THE BIGGER PICTURE’ in it, what could be more spot on? to say the least,PFFF….BIOYA !

  3. Thank you for the background however, questions still persist, out of the emotional context you seem to be branding with a great swipe the the thinking population not as verbally represented. A couple of them below:

    1. Theory of RSD was attained when the ARMM was formed. Short of making a new country, what else could have been done?

    2. Bangsamoro law stipulates that we (the majority of the democracratic RP) must support the muslim group by devoting a large portion of our already diminished economy to them, and blindly, by trusting that they police their own interests without interference from us. Doesn’t this seem particularly shady and quite mafia like?

    Basically everything you wrote here just points out that the subsequent conflicts since the 1920’s are born out of a refusal to be part of the group that is being demanded to accept them. If they want to become independent, by all means, do so, and truly, without crippling an already crippled support system, don’t you think?

    1. Thanks for your comments. Btw, ARMM has nothing to do with RSD. May I refer you to my article, “Looking into the Future of Moro Self Determination in the Philippines,” Philippine Political Science Journal Vol. 29, No. 52, 2008 (pp. 1-24) for your education.
      Likewise, you can read another paper I wrote “The State-Moro Conflict: Unresolved National Question or Question of Governance,” Asian Journal of Political Science Vol. 13, No. 1 (June 2005). (pp. 109-138) for your enlightenment too. You can access these papers via google, just type my name and you can have them.

      1. To clear things, the theory (concept, principle, idea behind) of RSD is equatable to what ARMM is, present day. You said it yourself in your article:

        “In both respects, self-determination is an acknowledged principle of the basic human right of individuals to participate in democratic governance. This includes the individual’s right to engage in the political, economic or cultural system of the state. Secondly, it is a collective right of groups as national, religious, ethnic or linguistic minorities to express, practice, and promote their own culture, life-ways, language, and religion which require protection from the state. Thirdly, it is a right of people to their homeland or claimed territory which embodies their identity, culture, and political autonomy. Finally, the right to self-determination, especially the claim to one’s territory, has to enjoy the state’s consent.”

  4. It is a long thesis…the Moros were not subjugated by the Spaniards, because Spain was ruled by the Moors for seven (7) centuries. Spain was reconquered by El Cid, at the later part of the century.
    There are still many Spanish Muslim in Spain. So, we can assume some of the Spanish soldiers, who conquered the Philippines were Spanish Muslims.

    I did not find any Democracy in any Islamic country. It is either ruled by a military dictator, or a religious Theocracy, like the Mullahs. Self-determination? How about the self determination of non Muslims?

    If Sharia Law is imposed in Mindanao. Women are treated as properties.
    They are required to wear a veil… Non Muslims are second class citizens. They can impose Heavy Taxes on them. Convert or be taxed to death. Or disappear from the face of the Earth…
    Cutting of heads, stoning, burning people in a steel cage, and other forms of barbarity, will be the form of execution.
    Any property of the non Muslims (infidels) can be taken. Sharia Court Judges will be the Islamic Imams. Since the Sharia Law is derived from the Islamic Koran. The Law of Allah will be the Law of Men…Muslim or non Muslim…

    ISIS, Al Queda, Boko Haram, etc…all want a Caliphate…like the Caliphate of the ancient Ottoman Empire. With Al Bagdhadi , as the Caliph…ruling over all Filipinos…

    It is some sort of a Trojan Horse…this BBL Law, peddled by Aquino, his minions, the YellowTards, MILF, Abu Sayyaf, etc…Terrorism will continue in our world. Even, if you pass the BBL Law.

      1. @Rizal Buendia:

        What is Not relevant to you, may be relevant to me, and to other people. Do not sidestep the issues, I have pointed out…
        Answer them!

  5. Hi Rizal, I think rather than respond to commentors by referring people to your articles/papers, you should be prepared to respond to them directly.

    How would you feel if commentors here simply tell you “Everything you say is wrong. Read the BBL. It proves you are wrong.”?

    That’s sort of the equivalent style you are exhibiting here. This is a public blog, not an academic journal or a classroom of students beholden to you because you are in control of their grades or considered to be responsible for their education. You are expected to argue your position by articulating specific points.

    1. But I’ve answered most of the commments in the papers I wrote and it would take lots of time on my part to discuss what I’ve already written. They won’t understand my response unless they’ve read the basic ones. Also some comments are irrelevant and I don’t even think that a reply is necessary.

    2. I think what you fail to appreciate is that when you argue your position, there are many ways to articulate the same point. Stephen Hawking wrote lots of books. But when he sits in front of school kids, say, to explain cosmology, he does not answer their questions by simply telling them to read those books and do the maths themselves.

      I’m pretty sure Stephen Hawking’s time is far far more valuable than both of ours’ combined. But if a guy of his stature can take the time to express his ideas in the almost infinite number of ways that the English language allows, why can’t we?

  6. But answering every comment would consume lots of my time and I’ve answered them already in the papers I wrote. It’s better that they read first to make a more intelligent questions/comments. Also some comments are irrelevant, I don’t even think they deserve a reply. Sorry for this.

    1. Well, that’s up to you. What you pretty much say above is this effort really all revolves around your time and not your readers’.

      I myself have a body of work that goes all the way back to 2000. Perhaps not as scholarly as yours but nonetheless, I address commentors as if I am in a conversation with them instead of treating them like they are a waste of my time. Welcome to the Internet!

      If you are not comfortable with this arrangement, perhaps this is not the sort of scene for you as it seems you may be better suited to a more, shall we say, traditional media channel — like a printed magazine or journal.

      1. Boom! You just smacked the bullseye there and the author still didn’t see it coming. He must be busy scanning his scholarly articles looking for something he can give you to read as an answer to your comment

  7. baloney..

    Mindanao will only have peace if the seed of separatism and Islamist fundamentalist will be removed from the heart and mind of these MILF etc.

    As long as these people exist, war will continue. The only option the Phil government is to do what Sri Lanka govt had done, crush them so hard so that they will recognize the futility of their aspiration.

    Stop with the bleeding heart syndrome, no ceasefire until these people and their supporters recognized that there is only 1 Philippine state, and it does not intend to share its power.

    P.S. only stupid people will believe that jabidah massacre happened because the “victims” are Muslims. It was done to protect national security, and the “victims” committed treason and gross insubordination, which under common military code deserves death penalty.

  8. “….while political analysts/commentators/ academics’ interpretations were myopic and had no added value to public’s education.”

    Myopic? Wow, this is a big claim……

    No independent fact-finding mission was ever conducted worthy of respect.”

    We have to wonder why.

    “The findings of ..(PNP) Board of Inquiry, Senate’s Report, and the.. (MILF) Investigation Report were meant to serve and protect each other’s interests, …”

    Of course, that was the intention. There had to be as many investigating bodies as possible, so that there would be contradictions — all just to cover up what really happened.

    “Conclusions were made and prejudged even before the facts have been examined and truth revealed.”

    Maybe, but if you have many having the same prejudgement, it is called gut-feel, and may not be neccesarily wrong.

    “What transpired was a “blame game,” ….”

    That is the whole point and objective of the cover-up or white wash.

    “Focus has been on organizational politics rather than getting the job done, while the grieving families of victims remain frustrated, demoralized, and disgusted over the turn of events.”

    This is PHL. Could you expect anything different?

    “What is more appalling, which I think is most important, is the timing. The bloodshed occurred at the period when the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is …… a collateral damage…”

    It is called a blessing in disguise ….BBL was a damage goods from the start. You can’t damage what is already damaged. Mamasapano just exposed the situation.

    “President Benigno Aquino III formed the peace council on 27 March which will lead a National Peace Summit to “deliberate on and discuss the BBL,” as if it will make any difference.

    P-Noy’s motto: To cover-up incompetence, use slogan or other PR tactics.

    “…they miserably missed the real issue and big picture of the problem – the Bangsamoro self-determination struggle.”

    I don’t think they missed it. The population emphatize with the Muslim on this. They know they are different, and somehow, they have to have their little world. That is why they have their ARMM, and everybody thought BBL would be an improvement until Mamasapano showed it to be otherwise.

    This is not the big picture. The big picture is: THE RIGHTS OF ONE ENDS WHERE THE RIGHTS OF THE OTHER BEGINS. No need for academic theories and models on this one, just commonsense.

    “At the core of Muslim self-determination struggle is self-governance and political autonomy.”

    Fine. But, as PHL do not know themselves, so the Muslims in Mindanao also do not know themselves. So, how can they have self determination? Okay, they have the determination, but not the self. This is a case of the blind leading the blind.

    “This clamour started as early 1920s, ….. government’s continued apathy and negligence of the Muslims’ legitimate demands.”

    You must be joking. Govt’s apathy applies to all LGU’s or all sectors, not just Mindanao.

    “Unless this issue is conclusively addressed, there will be more Mamasapanos, more “peace agreements” will fail, and more “autonomous” politico-governmental entities will break down. Hence armed conflict will persists in Mindanao..”

    Oh c’mon. No threats please. We have to do what we have to do. Tsk tsk tsk .. am beginning not to like this article.

    “What is the Right to Self-Determination (RSD)?”

    Again, the rights of one ends where the rights of the other begins. No need to expound on this lengthily, everybody knows and understands the Golden Rule.

    I think I know where this is leading. Tell you what, I will even accept a two-nation solution if that is what it takes to have peace in Mindanao. The ASEAN economic integration is coming anyway, afterall, and the concept of territorial boundaries and national sovereignty will be be diminshed. We will soon just be looking at each other as either partners, suppliers, providers, or customers. Secondly, we have the model in the secession of Singapore from Malaysia. Because Singapore has done well, it has helped Malaysia in more ways than one.

    You think that could happen with what is being proposed by BBL? Not, in a thousand years. MILF is being led by leaders as corrupt as those with whom they are negotiating in Malacañang. (I know for a fact that MNLF’s Misuari became corrupt. Ask him how he was able to buy the penthouse in a condo building in Roxas Blvd. Isn’t it true also that when the MILF boys are in Manila, they dine almost every night at the cost of Php2 to 5 thousand per head charged to our tax money?) They will always be a pain in the neck, I surmise — thanks to Mamasapano for having exposed this.

    ……
    Read a few more lines, and then jump to take a quick look at the conclusion …. Sorry, but above article appears to be a cop-out. An academic write-up with no practical utility. (especially when I saw the name Ibrahim Siddique as reference. Don’t know if we are talking of the same imam from Sulu, but the guy is also in some trading business, and sonamagan, he is crazy like he should be in some mental institution. You have to watch your back when dealing with this guy.)

  9. As Julius Caesar once said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

    Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.

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