Blogging Bangsamoro

Let us be clear here. Let us be objective. Let us be fair.

President Aquino gets credits, big credits, for the Bangsamoro agreement. This is potentially as significant as the jailing of President Arroyo in carving out a new landscape for a progressive Philippines.
If you read the accounts of the negotiations that have been taking place in Malaysia between the MILF and the Philippine government, you see four crucial facets that go right to the President’s desk, and his decisions:
  1. To offer a sincere foundation of trust, the President’s unique strength. 
  2. To rely on a neutral third party to keep talks balanced and constructive.
  3. To select negotiators who can capably represent the respective sides.
  4. To be candid, to be honest.
To be sure, this is only the start of a long and tricky path. The path winds amongst land mines and bear traps, and has snakes and tigers in the bushes here and there. Commentaries are already thick with reservations and mistrust, both of Muslims and the government’s ability to get through constitutional issues.
But the agreement is a profoundly important achievement.
I’m not going to re-write what others have written.
  • If you want to read about the pitfalls, read the summary of issues provided by Father Barnas in his blog entitled “RP-MILF Agreement: Part I
Lately, I’ve hammered President Aquino for endorsing the Cybercrime law and having a tin ear about freedom of expression.

That shouldn’t shade our view on this achievement.

Bangsamoro is a separate issue. And it is a huge step forward for stability and growth of the Philippine economy. It takes the edge off. It says we remain one nation, Philippines, in peace, aimed at prosperity.
President Aquino warrants a rousing round of applause. So do the lead negotiators Marvic Leonen and Mohagher Iqbal, chairs, respectively, of the Philippine and MILF negotiating panels. And so does former warrior and Moro leader, a forceful voice of moderation, Al Haj Murad Ibrahim, Chairman of the MILF. 
Good work, gentlemen!
This is a huge stride toward establishing a legacy for President Aquino as a great President.
I may gripe and complain about him from time to time, but you tell me who has done more to change the course of the nation, positively.
The big thing separating him from that “great” distinction is the erosion of trust arising from issues like the Padaca appointment, the Puno friendship, and the cybercrime defense.
It seems to me the President could do a better job of getting the Public working with him. One gets the feeling that he views the People, and the media and internet mavens who broadcast or write for and to the Public, as the enemy. Joe says:
  • “Mr. President, give the the people the information they need to perform their role as an intelligent check and balance against poor performance and wayward acts of government. Pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation. Stop stalling on revealing THE WHOLE of government.”
If  President Aquino get’s the FOI Bill passed and continues progress in the other areas, he will have completed five impressive planks of what is shaping up to be a profound legacy:
  • Managing a stable, growing economy, deeper and richer than before
  • Clamping-down on corruption and promoting good governance far and wide
  • Strengthening foreign policy and defense in a time of considerable tension
  • Solving the Mindanao problem
  • Engaging the public in an active, vibrant democracy
If we get our noses away from the trees, we can see a marvelous forest, growing deep and rich.
The Philippines is rising, for sure.
Executive is competent and productive. Thank you Mr. President.
The Supreme Court is stabilized. Thank you JBC, with assist from Mr. President.
The Legislature is . . . well, we’ll refrain from sullying this otherwise upbeat piece with that.

Optimism abounds . . .

28 Responses to “Blogging Bangsamoro”
  1. brianitus says:

    "Engaging the public in an active, vibrant democracy"Didn't he just try to "gag" people online?

  2. Yes, the point I was trying to make is that, if he got the FOI Bill passed, he could make that claim. He can't make it yet, for sure. And, indeed, the cybercrime signature was exactly the opposite, authorizing suppression.

  3. baycas says:

    Kindly google…"Promise 51: Review and assess the Organic Act on Muslim Mindanao"

  4. baycas says:

    Re: the SC…We'll await en banc's opinion on Sereno's unilateral TRO on Comelec's unseating of Maliksi

  5. President Aquino's Promise 51 as recorded by ABS-CBN:"I will immediately convene the Oversight Committee on the Organic Act on Muslim Mindanao (RA 9054) and complete a review and assessment of the implementation of the law. I will issue an Executive Order reviving/extending the function of the Oversight Committee, which was last convened before 2004 and which never completed its task, and impose a deadline for the completion of its work."The followup report is confusing to me. Maybe you can cut to the chase? Elections were deferred to 2013. A report on the Organic Act was to be made to Congress within 6 months of . . . what? The president's appointment of OIC, or the elections?? Is your point that the President did not follow up on getting rid of the laws that restrict Muslim independence?I'm afraid I need help on this one.

  6. You are writing mysteries this morning. Sereno issued the TRO by herself? A TRO to me means, "wait, we need to study this first", and is an exercise in prudence. It isn't a judgment.

  7. baycas says:

    Cryptic?Sorry.1. PNoy keeping his promise (Promise 51)2. PNoy's appointment of a possible "judicial parvenu" (borrowing Snv's description) will forever be judged

  8. Okay, I get both points. Thanks. "Cryptic" is a good word. Sounds like what it is. Onematopeia.

  9. Edgar Lores says:

    Hold on to your seats! We have a roller-coaster of a President!One day, down; next day, up. Isn't it exciting?

  10. Anonymous says:

    JoePut it on recordI'm pragmatic on this accord. For some reason gut feeling tells me that those self proclaimed trouble makers not included in the settlement would create trouble derailing the peace process. Honor system of some Muslim leaders are just not trustworthy. Abuse of kindness and tolerance seemingly prevail. Misuari and Ampatuan are perfect examples.Historically, ignored Muslim leaders in peace accords all over the world, since the time of the Moors in Spain, in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan,and Egypt, mount anti government insurgencies promoting their personal interest of recognition, greed and power grab disregarding peace pacts. Remember, Carter, Sadat and Begin peace pact as a prelude to PLO Israel accord. Mubarak mounted a coup against Sadat afterwards. Israel is still fighting the Palestinians up to the present. By 2016 at the end of PNoy term, history will judge my skepticism. So far Abu Sayyaf faction already massacred 3 soldiers. Johnny Lin

  11. Cha says:

    And thank goodness for that! The Senate, on the other hand is on a downward trajectory.

  12. Yes, I share your qualms. The good points are that finally Muslims will be policing Muslims, rather than it being a war between states, and maybe Guingona will get a chance to shine and lead the Mindanao congressional agenda.

  13. The President's tin ear on freedom of speech surprised me. Even after all the criticism of the Bill, he still has not come forward to say freedom of speech is to be cherished. I wonder if the authoritarian bent that we see in Philippine top leadership is raising its ugly head with Mr. President. I'd guess he chartered the cybercrime law in good faith, but it got twisted into a thuggish animal. Now he can't figure out how to put it back in the box without stabbing DOJ in the back; I figure DOJ has essentially done his bidding on this.It's bizarre to me, the failure to cherish this essential freedom.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The clear message of the "framework" is Muslims trust Pnoy. They didn't trust GMA with MOA-AD. Ever wonder why US was absent with framework but not with MOA-AD?. Maybe Muslims also don't trust Americans that much.DocB

  15. Anonymous says:

    Muslims policing Muslims? Too Naive.Shiites and Sunni in Iraq are perfect example of power struggle and recognition. Character, character, character!Filipinos are known for paying debt of gratitude to the point of subservience. You should know this by now Joe. Filipino Muslims are the exceptions. Ampatuan exemplifies that character. Maguindanao massacre would not have happened if the clan respected all the good deeds GMA extended to them. Johnny Lin

  16. baycas says:

    En banc affirmed Sereno's TRO.8 plus Sereno unanimously TRO'd Comelec to unseat Maliksi.Carpio and Perez on wellness leave, Reyes out of the country, del Castillo and Brion on personal leave.

  17. Yes, maybe naive. Maybe filled with hope that there is a core of responsibility that will get broader.

  18. Maybe the gap is too big to reach across, American ideals and hard core Muslim ideals, and that makes for mistrust. Or maybe replace "ideals" in that sentence with "self interest".

  19. Edgar Lores says:

    I believe there is goodwill for Muslims on the part of the government and the nation.I think the biggest obstacle to rapprochement is the mindset of Muslims which is basically one of separatism and armed struggle. This mindset has been set in concrete through centuries.The limited success of the sultanate of Aceh in Indonesia provides a model for Bangsamoro. Wikipedia records that ex-guerrillas have set up resorts that attract foreign tourists.Can Filipino Muslims who have taken up arms as a means of livelihood through banditry and kidnapping, can they make the considerable leap of extracting dollars from wallets through the smiles of hospitality rather than through the scowls of ransom? It is a radical leap that requires an internal about-face of how one sees oneself and the "other".

  20. Yes. I wish your comment could run as the headline article in the Sulu Daily Gazette Tribune. The challenge is now from Muslims to Muslims, and that is the importance of the agreement. "You want responsibility? Here, have a little. Now prove you deserve it."

  21. Anonymous says:

    EdgarPrincipal mindset is that they are always the oppressed disdained religious minority worlwide leading to armed struggle and separatism. Johnny Lin

  22. J says:

    Malaysia, however, is not a neutral third party. :p

  23. J says:

    Not a neutral facilitator. Historically been supportive of the Moro rebellion, even funded it I assume.

  24. Ha. "Gracious host and self-interested participant".I've added your blog to the Philippine Blog Center found here:'s my neutral facilitation to provide updates on well written Philippine blogs. You deserve a spot. Good writing.

  25. J says:

    Oh, thanks man!

  26. Anonymous says:

    "Malaysia, however, is not a neutral third party. :p"I was about to comment the same. Where is Sabah in the picture?V

  27. Sabah, yes, good question. I was reading on the history and why the Philippines has rightful claim. But there is a point at which inaction is action that says "we don't care all that much". It seems to me the Philippines has conceded Sabah by inaction. Any drive for action would have to come from within Sabah. May happen . . . but is not a part of the current exercise, which is strenuous enough.

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