By ERIK ESPINA
One question that maintains currency in the scheduled January 21, 2019, plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) under Republic Act 11054, was an answer made by former Assemblyman Homobono Adaza in my TV interview with him. “The threat or spiraling of Mindanao declaring independence or a portion separating from the Republic in the future, is a serious concern which must be prevented and addressed not by Mindanaoans alone, but the entire country,” he said.
The BOL hopes to be the final solution to decades-old war and “historical gripes” cited by liberation fronts as the premediated cause of their secession. While I hold deep reservations regarding BOL as “silver bullet” to gain peace, let this be the last attempt at catering to a mis-diagnosis of the real cause of hostilities. Nobody notices the elephant in the room. A liberation war funded by Malaysia to keep Sabah secure. A reversal of the Macapagal and Marcos resolution (diplomatic/strategic) to get back Philippine territory.
This is exacerbated when we are mis-led affirming the founding of a fabricated political identity, “Moros,” other ethnic Muslims detest as pejorative. I am worried, this may be the lighted match as propellant for the country’s balkanization. Creating a “Moro-landia” is by itself synthetic accommodation unreflective of the tribal diversities, conflicts, “Rido wars” among 18 tribes, plus feudal families, among them. The process of homogenizing such subsisting cleavages by a formulary of religion (Islam) as the glue for their unity is unlearning Islamic history. The deep divide since 632 between Sunni and Shia; the recent rise and fall of governments in Middle Eastern countries based on the politics of both factions is a testament — e.g., Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, etc. There is the new phenomenon of extremism jockeying for failed states – Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Isis in Afghanistan etc. Palestine facing a common enemy has Hamas, Fatah, six political parties. The Bangsamoro Organic Law is constitutionally infirm based on Article X, Section 19, the first Congress mandated to create ARMM, and other provisions. The BOL favors MILF rise to power, discarding the MNLF of Misuari (recognized by Organization of Islamic Conference), the royal houses, and other Filipino lumads. As predicted, the Sulu Archipelago people resist joining Bangsa Moro, and is united to form a Bangsa Sug. Conflict in the horizon.