Tamano answers MILF Panel Member’s Insults

Yesterday, at a forum on the MOA on Ancestral Domain at the College of Law, University of the Philippines, one of the MILF Peace Panel members, Atty. Musib Buat, told the audience at Malcolm Hall, which was also broadcast live to students at U.P.-Mindanao, that I was a “former Moro” and a “traitor” because of my opposition to the MOA and my filing a petition before the Supreme Court to stop the signing of the agreement. I was one of the panel reactors to the talks on the MOA given by, among others, Atty. Buat and GRP Peace Panel member, General Garcia.

Candidly, I was angered by the Atty. Buat’s statements as they were, to my mind, most unfair and unbecoming; fortunately, I decided to focus on rebutting the personal insults point by point in a manner that was consistent with peaceful dialogue. The following is the text of my reaction, which I believe is instructive also on issues on the MOA as well as my stand that while I, a Moro, oppose the MOA and secession, I do support federalism and greater autonomy for Filipino Muslims. To his credit, Atty. Buat apologized after my response. –

“Greetings of peace to all of us who genuinely believe in peace.

Allow me to make a personal statement since I have been personally insulted, fairness dictates that I have the right to answer.

I had come here today hoping for a true dialogue – a sharing of ideas in peace and respect. This is an academic forum after all, in the University of the Philippines no less. It is most unfortunate that instead of a dialogue, Atty. Buat has chosen to insult me personally. Atty. Musib Buat has called me a “former Moro”, essentially, a “traitor”, and that my color is yellow. Yellow, of course, being the color of cowardice. If it were not out of my respect for law and respect for my elders, I would show Atty. Buat how incorrect he is in his assessment. Anyway, Ninoy’s color was yellow and so I consider myself in good company.

Bapa Musib you have disappointed me greatly – this is beneath you. How sad it is that you have gone to the level of name-calling and ad hominem arguments. I refuse to go down to that level and to call you – and the MILF – similar names as well.

However, if that is how you will treat Filipino-Muslims who dissent and who disagree with your – or the MILF’s – views, that you will resort to threats and name-calling, then, in all candor, I would rather not be part of the society that you hope to create.

Historically, this is called “Takfir” – done by Muslim radicals making judgments on the piety of other Muslims, something that Muslim moderates would find totally unacceptable – and throughout Muslim history many people have been oppressed and killed because of this type of puritanical thinking.

In fact, out of respect for my elders in the MILF, I have not made any statements against the MILF and have lain the blame of the problems of the MOA squarely on GMA. I have done this in spite of hate email and hate text – even death threats – directed against me for the simple reason that I opposed the MOA. Let me make my position clear and I am not the only Moro who takes this stand, the MILF does not speak for all Moros: I support federalism and autonomy for Moros but I oppose the MOA.

In my view, the fatal flaw in the whole process of creating the MOA – even going beyond the constitutional issues – is that the MOA was crafted in the shadows beyond the pale of public discussion and debate. The marginalization of the stakeholders to MOA, which not only include the MNLF, the Lumads, the Subanons in Mindanao, the Christian communities that are to form part of the (BJE), the Congress that will be duty-bound to enact laws to effect the MOA, but, more importantly the public-at-large who have an interest in a matter of this transcendental importance, fatally undermines the MOA. It must be obvious that there can be no final peace settlement unless all stakeholders are part of that settlement.

Final Point

Allow me to make a final clarification of my stand on the MOA and why I believe it is doomed to failure. The MOA and the stand of the MILF intensely focuses on our differences – the differences in culture and religion between Muslims and Christians – and fails to consider what unites us.

Why is it that in so many other countries, people of different faiths, creeds, and races can come together in peace and unite under the concept of one nation? Are we not one race? How ironic it is that 54 years after the landmark Brown v. Board decision in the U.S. expressing the belief, which has been the trend of modern history, that the solution for a minority’s discrimination and oppression is not separation but rather genuine integration and here we are now, through this MOA, expressing the opposite belief – that in the Philippines Muslims and Christians must live separately to achieve peace. My position is simple – I am a Moro, that is my birthright that no one, not even the MILF may take away, and I am also proud to be a Filipino and I will fight, through all constitutional and legal means, to keep our nation whole.

I like the color yellow, it’s on the Philippine flag.”

4 Comments

  1. liling magtolis briones said,

    August 21, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Adel,

    For once, I am in a state of shock and can’t write out the appropriate response. The incident saddens me deeply but I am proud of your answer.

    Prof. Liling

    .

  2. wehavenoname said,

    August 22, 2008 at 5:26 am

    I studied Islam and Islamic Mysticism and Literature in my one-year Fulbright scholarship at Rutgers University in the USA. My professor was a Pakistani Muslim scholar, a PhD who studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He taught us many useful things about Islam, making us read pages and pages of books. But one insight I will never forget is his statement: that we in Southeast Asia are luckier because the brand of Islam practiced in our region is more temperate, more gentle, and more open to dialogue and debate.

    It is in this spirit that I — a Christian who helped research and write the scripts of a Muslim documentary and of Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s movie about our Muslim Filipinos — am making this comment. I think that one of these days — certainly after 2010 when the Big Mole in Malacanang is gone, should be gone — we can sit down and debate and hammer out a workable plan for federalism that will jump-start peace and progress in our beloved Mindanao.

    — Danton Remoto

  3. karl villarmea said,

    August 22, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Adel,

    i appreciate your very personal response to what seem to me an outburst of primordial anger. and taken all together, yours is a voice of sobriety and passionate plea for justice and peace for everybody, one that which we all yearn for our beloved mindanao.

    i would like to register my red-flag, however, on the rhetorical comment you made at the end of your statement:

    “Why is it that in so many other countries, people of different faiths, creeds, and races can come together in peace and unite under the concept of one nation? Are we not one race?”

    this statement, though it sounds politically correct, should not be part of our public discourse, especially coming from you and for those of us who desire a new politics, of a new horizon of political thinking and doing.

    have we not learned from nationalist movement in eastern europe? or even here in the philippines? have we not learned our lesson from the past–of colonial mimicry and dictatorial regimes?

    and i am not really sure what “countries” you are talking about, that come and unite under the concept of one nation.

    i think this time the rhetorics misfired.

    hope for a better next time.

  4. Marlon Posadas said,

    August 28, 2008 at 3:00 am

    Sir Adel,
    Dapat nga n united we stand regardless of religions cz we live in one country db? I believe na may mga di makakabuting details dun s MOA kaya marami ang ayaw at hindi pangkalahatan ang makikinabang lalo na ang muslim and christian n gusto ang lifetime PEACE s Mindanao.
    Naniniwala ako s lahat ng advocacy nyo and stand lalo n s mga national issues.. Keep it up bro! sana s tulad ko n simpleng mamamayan dito s Kawit, Cavite e matulungan kita n ipagpatuloy at ipaalam s lahat kung ano man ang mga adhikain mo para s ikabubuti ng ating bayan. Kutulad din ng mga vision and goals ni Gilbert Remulla. Sana hindi ka magbago at huwag tularan ang mga politikong pinapaasa lang ang sambayanan at kapag nakuha na ang mithiing pwesto hindi n makausap ng personal at balikan ang mga simpleng taong tumulong at naniniwala s kanya kaya sya ngkaroon ng katungkulan s gobyerno.
    Again, Keep it Up! God bless and More Power to Young Turks.
    PS. Pwede ba ako maging member nun group nyo ni Gilbert kahit late Thirties nko? Sana Tumakbo po kayo ni Gilbert s Senate s 2010 para naman mga fresh blood and group n handang gumawa ng makabagong batas at pamamaraan para s ikabubuti ng bayan. Tipong Senators of New Trends!
    Let me know tru my email s mbposadas1009@yahoo.com or 0920-3413577 kung ano po pwede participation ng simpleng mamamayan dito s Cavite para s group nyo.

    Marlon Posadas
    God BLess to you and your family.
    Looking forward na mameet ko po kayo.


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