Allow me to share the points that I raised as a reactor to the forum in the Ateneo de Manila University, College of Law, last Friday, which will help to clarify the issues regarding the MOA on ancestral Domain between the GRP and the MILF
Speaker: Olayer – human rights advocate who informed us that there were nearly 130,000 IDPs or internally displaced persons as a result of the recent conflict in Mindanao
– My Reaction → It breaks your heart to see the real face of war, specifically the suffering of IDPs and civilians, which must remind everyone that war and violence are always a non-option
Speaker: Atty. Candelaria – GRP Panel Member. He said that the sad situation “could have been prevented”
– My Reaction → I agree had the GMA Administration been transparent and sought consensus of all stakeholders not just the MILF but also, among others, the MNLF, the local leaders, the lumads, and the Christian-dominated communities that would be affected by the creation of the BJE– and yes even the members of Congress to whom the Constitution has allocated the power, save for a People’s Initiative, of suggesting amendments to the Charter. As a fellow Constitutional Law professor Atty. Candelaria knows that due process – a sense of basic and fundamental fairness to all stakeholders, and that includes you and me – demands a broad consultation.
Speaker: Atty. Zen Malang – Peace Process Analyst who said (1) Why can’t we change the Constitution to resolve the Mindanao Conflict? We have changed the Constitution many times in our history, (2) that there were Moro Nation-States before the coming of the Spaniards, and (3) that those opposing MOA pandering to prejudice and xenophobia
– My Reaction to No. (1) → Sure that is an option but aren’t there other intra-constitutional solutions to the Mindanao Conflict. The MOA, simply, is a false idol. It is not the only solution to the Mindanao conflict and not a panacea or a magic-bullet to solve the problems of peace between Muslim and Christians.
– My Reaction to No. (2) → I won’t even assail the correctness of the historical claims of Atty. Malang but the simple historical fact – painful as it is – is that these so-called “Moro nation-states” were later subjugated as was the rest of what would later become the Philippine Republic. While there is a need to address the historical injustices done to Moros, similar to the situation of Indians and Aborigines in the Americas and Australia. But America and Australia did not create a separate State just for them. Again, very simply the MOA is a false idol and there are alternatives to it.
– My Reaction to No. (3) →Finally, not all those who oppose the MOA are pandering to prejudice and xenophobia, there are some who oppose the MOA for valid, reasonable, and even patriotic, reasons. Also, the proponents of the MOA do not have a monopoly of altruism, commitment to peace, and love for the Moros. Perhaps the MOA oppositors have some of this too.
Speaker: Father Bernas
– Out of respect for my Professor in Constitutional Law, I will not react to the points that he has raised
Speaker: Senator Frank Drilon
– Since we are co-petitioners questioning the MOA-AD, I affirm all the points raised by Senator Drilon
My Last Point → How ironic it is that – as some of you may know – today we celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream Speech” where a commitment to non-violence and a commitment – not to separation by oppressed communities – but to integration with justice was expounded. How sad it is that throughout modern history, in the vast majority of nation-states, people of different creeds, faiths, and even races can come together as one nation and here we are in the Philippines, the claim is made, through the MOA, that the only solution to peace is for Muslims and Christians to live apart, Muslims in BJE and Christians elsewhere.
We all want peace but the price that the MOA asks of us is too high and the MOA is, ultimately, on the wrong side of history.