Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ancestral Domain Regime or Bangsamorostan?

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said yesterday in a speech to businessmen:
If it would not adversely affect the Philippine negotiating position and provoke alarm among Christians, a pilot implementation of the envisioned Muslim ancestral domain regime shall be undertaken, to demonstrate our sincerity to achieve peace,” Ms Arroyo said.

She said the government had declared many ancestral domains among indigenous peoples.

“I really don’t see why anybody should be scared if there is an ancestral domain declared for the Muslim people,” she added.

The issue of ancestral domain or territory is about the areas to be recognized as part of a Muslim homeland and which will be placed under a so-called Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), the probable name of the governing body of the new Moro homeland.

It is not clear how much autonomy the BJE will have. But the proposal is for the MILF to have full fiscal, political and religious authority in the BJE.

A Muslim homeland?? Oh! But please don't be alarmed! This is all for the sake of demonstrating our sincerity in seeking peace. As for the non-Muslims majorities that live in the coming new Bangsmorostan they will just have to live in dhimmitude I suppose. Now if we think South Korean immigrants are a problem, wait till "our partners in the peace process" start bringing in tourists from South Waziristan.

Hey what about a Christian homeland? A Buddhist homeland? A Jehovah's Witnesses homeland? A homeland for the El Shaddai? A homeland for Protestants, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Hindus, Seventh Day Adventists?

So this is how Al Hadj Murad, Eid Kabbalu and the MILF warlords are going to attain the same status of Sultan as Nur Misuari and the first bunch of pretenders to represent the Bangsamoro people. By being given modern encomiendas. Now if we think South Korean immigrants are a problem, wait till "our partners in the peace process" start bringing in tourists from South Waziristan.

Meanwhile, nine out of ten of the soldiers killed in an ambush August 7 in Maimbung, Sulu were Muslim recruits integrated into the Philippine Army from Jolo and Zamboanga and were former MNLF fighters. This was revealed yesterday by Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon during a Press Conference at Camp Aguinaldo. MNLF chairman Hashim Salamat and his Consigliere Atty. Firdausi Abbas confirmed on television that Maimbung was an ambush in revenge for the separate killing recently of a local MNLF functionary. I guess they really don't like it when mujahideen return to the folds of the Law and will just as soon murder Muslims as Christians or lumads.

But National Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Jr., and Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon have obviously been given highly complex marching orders by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, judging by some of their comments at a Press Conference in Camp Aguinaldo on Monday. Namely to go hammer and tongs after "the Abu Sayyaf terrorists and lawless elements" in an "all out war without let-up" while vouchsafing, pre-exonerating and excluding from all LAW ENFORCEMENT efforts certain "partners of government in the peace process" namely the MNLF and MILF, one because of a past peace accord, and the other because of one in the offing.

Both were at great pains to describe the LIMITS of this so-called all-out war. They actually mouthed the words "collateral damage" which made all the evening newscasts and is still reverberating in Mass Media's Echo Chambers. But no one will mention the fact that in the recent spate of terrorist bus bombings, killing civilians and damaging public infrastructure is central to the terrorist goals, whose violence is indiscriminate as it is deadly. There is no collateral damage in a terrorist attack. It is all intentional.

No wonder young Bert Teodoro and Gen. Esperon looked like they hadn't slept for days, having just come back from the front lines in Basilan after the Philippine Military suffered its worst death toll at the hands of...surrealistically enough...the MILF first in Basilan on July 10 (14 dead, 10 beheaded), and then since August 7, another 27 Philippine Marines have been killed in clashes with the MNLF, the two "partners of government" in the "peace process."

Both of them looked like they hadn't slept for days, having just returned from Basilan and the front line in what Media describes as an "all out war" or a "government offensive".

But the sentence needs to be completed: it is an ALL-OUT WAR against the Abu Sayyaf, but the MNLF and the MILF are both exempted from the law enforcement operations EVEN IF both "Liberation Fronts" have openly admitted their hand in the ambush killings of the Marines in Basilan and Sulu. In fact, the MILF still claims (brags?) on its website that it actually killed 23 Marines on July 10 in Basilan, not 14 as the number of caskets at Fort Bonifacio subsequently attested. And I heard the MNLF chairman SAY that Maimbung, Sulu WAS an ambush in revenge for the killing of a local MNLF leader in an "encounter" recently.

Both the MILF's and MNLF's ambuscade-murders of uniformed Marines are surely just as HEINOUS-- as ASG's Scavenger-Beheadings--so why have the MNLF and MILF been granted a Get Out Of Jail Free card by the President herself??

How can there ever be Peace without Justice?


manuelbuencamino said...

The pen is lighter than the sword eh soldier?

Deany Bocobo said...

Depends on your INK, mb!

Deany Bocobo said...

Even Mafiosi are descended from Roman Emperors -- can they claim parts of Rome as a homeland.

The Moro Golden Age consisted or slave raiding in the Visayas and slave trading in Borneo.

They never did any algebra in Maguindanao!

john marzan said...

dean, if arroyo and her people are not going to give our soldiers all the necessary support it needs to fight the terror groups... if they would allow our soldiers to die like sitting ducks without sending in reinforcements, then we might as well pull out all our troops out of the battle zone for the moment until maam arroyo clears her head and is sure of what she really wants to do.

becasue i don't want our soldiers to die for nothing kung "half-hearted" lang ang suporta at kampanya ng admin laban sa mga dapat managot na terorista.

john marzan said...

my understanding kung bakit binibira ng MILF at MNLF ang ating militar.

because the military "tresspassed" on the defacto "MILF territory"

our soldiers were looking for those responsible for killing and beheading our marines in Sulu and Basilan, without "coordinating" with MILF.

the gov't previously asked the MILF/MNLF to hand over those responsible for the deaths of our soldiers, pero the MILF groups were unwilling to cooperate. so the military continued it's pursuit of the guilty MILF/Abus without MILF "coordination". at doon nagkagulo...

manuelbuencamino said...

It's a mistake for gma to conflate the issue of ancestral domains with a politco religious issue.

If I understand correctly, the issue of ancestral domains are an offshoot of the torrens system. It is about proprietary rights and does not have anything to do with religion or politics. The political issue has been settled a long time ago - the republic is sovereign over all its territory.

Deany Bocobo said...

its her only transactional option. Ramos already gave Nur Misuari 50 billion for his ARMM sinkhole.

Now GMA's got nothing to bribe the MILF with but LAND.

How long after signing a peace accord with the MILF will it be before we hear about the

NEXT Moro Liberation Front (NMLF)??

How do we pacify them? Give'm Cebu?

john marzan said...

I do sense that Arroyo will offer all of Mindanao (or most of it) to the MILF before her term is over.

interesting stat though, mindanao is comprised of 20% Muslim and 80% non-Muslim. So if Mindanao is like Iraq, the 20% muslims are the Sunnis, and the 80% non-Muslims are Shiites and Kurds combined.

Dave Llorito said...

the issue of ancestral domain has always been there even before the "process process" with MILF. remember that the Ancestral Domain Law was passed during the time of FVR. so whether or not you have that peace process, ancestral domain will always be a relevant issue because by nature of the ancestral domain law, muslim groups (maguindanao, maranao, tausugs, iranun, etc) are considered "indigenous peoples" (IPs) who have been here since "time immemorial". the definition of IPs and "time immemorial" have always been legally tenuous (the supreme court upheld its legality with just one vote in favor of the IP law) but certainly that matter is a valid issue. in fact, several lumad groups have already been granted ancestral domain titles. for GMA to offer ancestral domain to appease the MILF therefore is just a repetition of a policy that has already been there, good or bad.

Dave Llorito said...

there are technical considerations in the identification of ancestral domain. so its not true that MILF will end up having the entire mindanao or most of it. its likely that it would mean an expanded ARMM, covering areas where muslims are dominant. how to implement this is quite tricky since the delineation of ancestral domain is subject to "prior private rights" or something like that. which means you cant force people off their titled properties.

in truth, the local government code has already given LGUs lots of leeways, and that makes local government execs including those in muslim areas, adequate powers. this ancestral domain thing would tend to dilute these gains, that's why even some muslim LGEs are quite wary of this ancestral domain issue.

john marzan said...

there are technical considerations in the identification of ancestral domain. so its not true that MILF will end up having the entire mindanao or most of it. its likely that it would mean an expanded ARMM, covering areas where muslims are dominant. how to implement this is quite tricky since the delineation of ancestral domain is subject to "prior private rights" or something like that. which means you cant force people off their titled properties.

I think a Referendum on Mindanao is the only solution, Dave.

Deany Bocobo said...

good points Dave. regarding the extent of the proposed "ancestral domain grants" you are right that they will again be small corner of Mindanao, though I think this time they will take a good chunk of the Pulangi River area in Maguindanao!

Smells fishily like a pay-off for the last elections, maybe.

But no matter how big or how small it is, such a thing could become a new terrorist base, and all of Mindanao and the Philippines would be threatened.

I think the Public has been kept too much in the dark about the so called peace deals that involve their patrimony.

manuelbuencamino said...

How does this tie-in with the territorial thing Norberto Gonzalez conceded to the MILF a few years ago and for which he was called to appear before a congressional investigtion and accused of treason?

And was the alleged letter of Hiashim Salamat to Bush real?

Was Gloria's statement related to those two seemingly unrelated events?

Dave Llorito said...

the so-called ancestral domain claims as practiced with several indigenous peoples right now do not encroach on the country's political subdivision. in practice, it only means that IPs should have a say and share in the revenues should there be utilization or exploitation of, say, natural resources in the area. it seems to me that the law as envisioned was intended to address question of historical inequity heaped upon indigenous peoples. how will it intersect with the issue of a "moro homeland"/muslim autonomy is one aspect that is worth watching. but let's face it, the matter about ancestral domain is a separate and legitimate issue by itself.

Deany Bocobo said...

History is full of historical inequities.

It is not as if ONLY the Muslims have suffered all kinds of atrocities.

Nor can they claim to have been VICTIMS throughout. Their own role in Philippine history is hardly peaceful or honorable in its entirety. If anything, they were just as rapacious on for example Visayans as any other foreign invader. They were slave traders for most of the purported Golden Age.

Even the Mafia can claim to be descended from Roman Emperors! So can they have sicily?

I think now our true understanding of Democracy and its revolutionary character will be put to the test.

Jao Romero said...

GMA estupida. it isn't ALL out war if you're sparing co-killers. ano ba talaga? peace o war? if its war, then it better be all out and leave none of them alive. if it is peace, then let them sue for peace themselves when they are near extinction.

personally, im all for ceding whatever they wanna claim. and once they've pinpointed all the land they want, we can then give them our condition. take all of it then, BUT any bombing or terrorist activities aimed at the general Filipino public (including your own muslim brothers)will meet with automatic erasure of all your people. as for the Christian majority entrenched in Mindanao, let them be where they wanna be.

john marzan said...

the worst case scenario is an "intifada" like situation in mindanao after six years of "peace". kasi naalala ko tahimik rin sa israel at palestinian territories from 1993 to 2000 after the oslo accords were signed. Tapos bigla na lang sumabog ang second intifada after arafat return from the 2000 camp david summit.

Deany Bocobo said...

Or-- inspired by Al Qaeda in Iraq-- they could carry the fight to Davao, Cebu, Manila, as they once did when they bombed Super Ferry 14.

Why foul the very Nest that GMA is feathering for them?

khaleidoscopeworld said...

with due respect to the "sensitive issue" which has been decided in the case of "cruz v. secretary of environment and natural resources" (dec 1, 2001), i believe this is a matter of understanding our philippine history. in the given case, justice puno said that "moros" and "ips" were driven from luzon and visayas to mindanao. the moros are never conquered by the spaniards. since regalian doctrine started with spain, it was the king of spain who vests titles of lands, the lands occupied by the moros are never considered part of the scope of the jura regalia -- meaning, never been public and considered as ancestral lands and domains.

Deany Bocobo said...

Fair enough, the moros were never conquered by Spain. But they were conquered by the Americans, as all the Filipinos effectively were, even the Igorots.

As for the Visayans, they successfully resisted the slave raiders of the Maguindanao Confederacy who for centuries traded them in the slave markets of Borneo and Java, but they did that by allying with the Spanish, altho nowadays we say they were conquered by the Spanish.

The point I think is that the moros cannot claim any rights from the Philippine Republic that aren't granted to all Filipinos.

As for the Court decision it was a 7-7 tie, and one side only prevailed because that's rule. But it could not have been a more indecisive decision.

Moreover, I have already demonstrated that at least in part, the Decision as written by Puno is written as much upon myth and legend as it is on fact and history. And I ain't done with his decision, which is full of even more laughable errors.

Justice as Fairness requires that the Right be given Priority over the Good.

If moros have ancestral domains, sp should Tagalogs and all other tribes.

The business of who resisted whom and who conquered whom cannot be used to distinguish among Filipinos, except by those who wish to divide and decaptitate the Republic.

Today's Filipino majority cannot blamed for the tragedies of the past, for they suffered equally an deserve as much in Law as any minority.

khaleidoscopeworld said...

Thank you Dean for the enlightenment. I agree with you but not in all aspects. You see, history plays a big role in shaping the present for a better future. What happened in the past should be prevented.

Yes, today's Filipino majority cannot be blamed for the tragedies of the past. But today's majority need to understand the fact that in the past and even today (and most likely tomorrow if this problem won't be solved), Moros are and will be oppressed.

In the media, when a Moro commits a crime, he is tagged as "Moro/Muslim ......" but when a Tagalog, Visayan, other tribes do, there is no naming of the tribe. Why is that so?

In work places or even inside classrooms, Moros' intelligence and capabilities are questioned and tested just because they write "Islam" in the space for religion in their biodata. Why is that so? In fact, even Non-Moros who are from Mindanao are given not good first impressions.

Even taxi drivers and mall security guards discriminate Moros who are wearing head covers (for women) or who have long beards (for men). Why is that so?

Police treat Moro suspects badly as if they are more criminal than the other suspects of other tribes. Why is that so?

Why? I am not claiming to know more than you do. I'm just a humble law student. But I believe the reason for all of the above situations is because of "history."

Non-Moros have intertwined in their mentality the "past" faults of Moros, with the exception to those very few who don't discriminate.

In your statement, "[t]he business of who resisted whom and who conquered whom cannot be used to distinguish among Filipinos, except by those who wish to divide and decapitate the Republic." Yes, you are right. This is why I think we should refrain from distinguishing who shouldn't be given lands from those who should. Ancestral lands and ancestral domains are issues which are, until now, very vague. But not until there is a new jurisprudence to correct the so-called 7-7 ruling of the "Cruz v. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources," IPRA law remains in force. (Although I know in my heart that it is nothing but a law without its teeth.) IPs and Moros will not be vested the rights to their ancestral domains and lands until today's majority understand the very root of the issue.

I remain my stand.

Deany Bocobo said...

I am sure I do not know more than you do about the Law, as I am not a lawyer, though like you, I like to think I am a student of the law. I am a physicist by training though, so I am spoiled by the grandeur and simplicity of God's laws and wish men could emulate his matter and method in setting out the great principles of Justice.

Which is why I cannot see how the Christian majority can ever be made to accept that they suffered less than the Moros in the colonial bargain and that therefore they now deserve less from the Republic they fought and died for, to establish.

Had they known that a century after their sacrifices a bunch of unelected judges would deem them unfit for sovereignty over about a third of the territory, they might not have undertaken the bother.

It's another "constructive thingamagig" from the Supreme Court, but this time they are trying the facts of history, and have even gotten that wrong.

The present plight of the Moros is no reason for us to tear up the Constitution on such a false historiography of victimhood. As if we have not all suffered grievously! If we give in to that, not only the Christians but the Moros themselves will suffer. For one thing, ordinary Muslims will only come under the thumb of polticians and warlords who've demonstrated their barbarism and savagery on numerous occasions.

I am not sure that the Muslims, whatever their disadvantages under the present dispensation, would be any better off and not a helluva a lot worse off under the rebel leaders we have already seen and know about.

One thing from bitter experience is that independence is no magic bullet for a country's problems. If anything independence makes things worse if the new ruling class is actually worse than the colonizer and runs things like hell. Just look at what happened in Maguindanao.

I guess what I am now saying is that giving the Muslims a homeland may only result in giving them new and worse masters that will lord it over them in the name of Islam.

How would you prevent such tragedy?

khaleidoscopeworld said...

Before I answer the question you posted, I just want to commend you, Dean. You really have the power with words and reasoning.

(I know this is unnecessary but I'd like to narrate my life's story why my stand is like this. Just skip this part if you like.) I have pondered on this issue (Moro independence) a little earlier than my contemporaries who were, at that time, enjoying their high school life. I am a fruit of a Muslim and Christian love that is why it is very hard for me to love or hate one over the other. My bias is that I don't see any conflict between the two because I've seen their beautiful side. I am a law student who is aspiring to be someone like you, "the Dean." But as of now, thanks to your idea of the "physicist in training," I think I can call myself a conceptual engineer. hehe

Regarding the ancestral lands and domains for the Moros, these are just mere "concepts" inspired to give Moros "more" hope. But in reality "Moro independence" will remain a dream in the same way that these lands will never be given to them (actually the term is not "give" because these lands are part of the Philippine territory and the Morros are just mere "care-takers" if ever.) Indeed, reality bites.

What do you think should be done with "these" Moros?

In my case, what should the government tell me regarding the IPRA law if i ask about it? Or my children? Or my children's children?

I hope the answer is not: "forever in electric dreams."

Yes, Gloria had said her piece. But its more of a lip service. The thing is hopeful Moros like me try to convince ourselves that "maybe" this time..... (even knowing that the source is unreliable) ....we shall be free! Just like Dan Brown's definition of faith, it's believing into something which is not true. We are not blind, rather blinded by hopeful words of law makers which are just words of no slightest value. The IPRA law, alas, remains a beautiful script with missing bold actors to play the role. Nonetheless, I am arguing that IPRA "might" be enforced.

(The second part of my argument is a bit shaky and if I'm your student, I think you'll give me a D-. hehe)

As to "when" should there be Moro independence, this I cannot answer. Why? Because I agree with you, Dean, that Muslims "would be any better off and not a helluva a lot worse off under the rebel leaders we have already seen and know about." I, myself, have no trust in most of the leaders in my place today. This is the very reason why I wanted to elevate my scope of thinking. I wanted to understand. I cannot forever stay inside the box and be regarded as "Moro ka lang." I am posting comments in your blog because I wanted answers from someone whom I know can change my perspective.

"How would I prevent such tragedy?"

4 W's and 1 H.
1. Who will give them such independence? (I think Gloria will only spoil the independence because of what happened in Maguindanao, as you said).

2. When is the right time for such independence? (Definitely NOT today because we are not yet ready. So much has to be done.)

3. Where? (The scope of such independence must be well defined and not subject to various interpretations.)

4. Why? (There shouldn't be any hidden agenda, the intention should be authentic.)

5. How? (The means must not be bloody.)

By the way, I believe Moros in my generation will make a difference. I hope you agree with me that the right time will come for such independence.

Anonymous said...

no amount of explanation can convince "men of letters" as their common sense to grasp ordinary things normally, let alone their responsible discretion, is shut down permanently by their inveterate discrimination which they shield it maliciously behind the garb of their so-called "enlightenment. " the Bangsamoro has left no stones unturned just to explain to anyone her rightful claim. Hence, the Bangsamoro owes nobody anymore of this obligation. these men's problem is to reconcile the truth of things with their fanatical prejudice. let these men this time boil into pathological derangement either in grasping or in eschewing the veracity of the Bangsamoro claim. that is their problem, not the Bangsamoro's.

Anonymous said...

Khaleidoscopeworld ,

[In the media, when a Moro commits a crime, he is tagged as "Moro/Muslim ......" but when a Tagalog, Visayan, other tribes do, there is no naming of the tribe. Why is that so?]

Nice points in the bull’s-eye, Toto. On the first part, I think it is because the media person who is reporting is either a Christians chauvinist and/or a racist himself. [He could have reported ‘Pedro of this family and that, who resides in this place and that, committed this or that crime.]

On the second part, it is because the Tagalog group, Visayan group and other tribes see - think -speak of themselves as Filipinos, projected themselves as Filipinos. Muslim Filipino leaders project themselves as a separate nation within the de facto Filipino nation, think, act and projected themselves as outsiders thus got treated as such. Morals? Don’t even think of the devil so devil does not appear.

Thinking in terms of tribe may be backward. Thinking of Filipino is forward. thinking in terms of the world is super.

Anyway, I think everything to the dissidents is nothing but rhetoric to justify the fact that they are fed up of a system that they see doesn’t work and could not work and that they’d be better out of it.