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Muslim Mindanao

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VOICE FROM THE SOUTH

By EMETERIO BARCELON

Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

Theoretically the social contract is for the state to provide the safety of life and property of the inhabitants while the people contribute to the needs of the state. Therefore, the life and property of the people need to be protected. The social scientists find that the Muslim people of Mindanao do not get this protection. There is rampant kidnap for ransom going on. There is no clear ownership of the land and cattle rustling is common. The result is that five of the poorest provinces of the country belong to Muslim Mindanao. The social scientists then prescribe that cadastral surveys must be instituted to make sure of land ownership and the place saturated with police to make sure the there will no longer be cattle rustling and kidnap for ransom. This protection of citizens is essential. Without it there is no social contract.

It is easy to prescribe but the prescription should be of help to reestablish the social contract. The first should be the running of cadastral surveys to make land property secure. The next is safety of cattle and human lives.  Therefore, police saturation may be needed. The new autonomy may help to bring the leadership of the people to identify with the state. The main problem is that the leaders do not identify with the state so that bickering and jostling for position is rampant and not the provision for the services of the state. How to make this possible is only by spirituality and nationalism. The leaders need to go beyond their personal interests and think of Allah and country. Without this spiritual outlook, clan interests will prevail. There is no reason why Muslim Mindanao should be poorer than the rest of the country. They are endowed with tremendous personal and natural resources.  With peace, tourism will be a great boon to the region.

The Bangsamoro organic law may be the great opportunity for the Moro second spring. The glories of Sulu that sent embassies to China could be revived. The conditions are easy and difficult. The leaders of Moro land must make sacrifices to band together to make life better for their people. The Christian part of the country cannot just fold  its arms. They must principally pray for Muslim brothers’ success and bend over to do what they can. By God’s providence we are one body and the problems of the little finger of the same body will bother the whole of the body. We will not be able to move forward without the prosperity of our Muslim brothers. Racially we are only one people together with Indonesia and Malaysia.  We may be different in the ways we adore God but we all adore. The children of the first Muslim senator once complained:  Why do people now keep asking us if we are Muslim? When we were young, no one ever asked us this question. We are all Filipinos.

In the new law, the provision for one or two senators should be made for it is almost impossible for the Muslim Bangsamoro to be able to elect a regular senator and yet they should be represented in the Senate.  There should be no difficulty in this for this is just proper representation. There are sacrifices that will be asked of us, of all of us.  We should go out of our way to provide it. May the Lord bless all of us, especially the leaders of our Muslim brothers.

<emeterio_barcelon@Yahoo.com>

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