Jemaah Islamiyah will win with the failure of GRP-MILF Talks

August 10, 2008 § Leave a comment

Peace panel member former general Rod Garcia yesterday belied lingering doubts on the real intention of government behind the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). He says government does’nt have any intention of opening the cha-cha door thru the MOA. They consulted Constitutionalists Fr. Bernas and Sedfrey Candelaria and at no point did they view the MOA as violative of the charter. Yes, they may be some constitutional changes, but this does not involve a suggestion or a proposal for Gloria to extend her term beyond 2010.

Ding Deles, former peace adviser hit the government for going to the peace table with “unclean hands”. She says government can’t deliver its promises because the MOA will go thru many constitutional processes before it can be effected and it might hit many snags.

What Deles is actually saying is that this government and any other administration after it, cannot really enter into any agreement with the MILF because it really cannot deliver what the Bangsamoro is aspiring for. Because if this administration will not deliver, then, what’s the chance that the next one will?

Baloney. This government can solve this 40 year old problem, by allowing this MOA to succeed. So far, this is the best agreement forged between the two panels. What more can these two parties discuss except giving the Bangsamoro a state of their own under a federalist setup? That’s the most extreme and the most appropriate answer to the Bangsamoro Question. Beyond that, is war.

What Deles and the rest of the oppositors don’t realize is this–if this deal doesn’t push thru, we all risk a further escalation of this problem, even leading to a very serious regional security problem in the years to come. Why?

First, should the MILF don’t deliver its mandate before its Bangsamoro constituency, it risk losing credibility and support. When it loses credibility, young and old fighters would turn into another direction, one of them is extremism, as offered by the Jemaah Islamiyah. This regional terror group has been operating in Mindanao since 2000, and if the MILF loses its mass base, these fighters will resort to other more extreme means of getting what they want. This is what happened to the MNLF. When it capitulated in 1996, extremist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) gained strength and became such a huge force it is still being neutralized as of this moment. 

Are we prepared to see other ASG-like guerilla groups wrecking havoc not only in Mindanao, but in other parts of the country? Are we really ready to see Mindanao turn into a war magnet with other regional terror groups making it a modern battlefield? Are we ready to see Bangsamoro mujaheddins going to other parts of the country, detonating bombs and creating havoc to our cities?

This is the reason why US Ambassador Kristie Kenney was there all throughout the peace talks, to make doubly sure that the GRP and the MILF really come to terms with each other. Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro in his interview over at Private Conversations on ANC says that the real interest of the US in those talks is to ensure regional security. Why?

If the Mindanao conflict spills over the rest of the region, it threatens the US mainland. A radicalization of young Moro fighters in Mindanao poses a very serious risk in the security of America. Remember that past World Trade bombers trained and even used the Mindanao corridor as a springboard towards the US. The possibility of Mindanao becoming a regional hub of terrorism is very high if these peace initiatives fail.

So, my fellow Filipinos, I know we hate Gloria so much. We don’t want her to extend her term beyond 2010. If we really think hard about this, a term extension is simply a totally different matter altogether. It is really not connected with this MOA or the Mindanao peace talks. For once, try to think beyond our interest and consider the implications of this issue in the regional fight against terror.

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