Now, we must face the question: how different, really, is APARTHEID from the legal concepts and practical effects being promoted under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 and sought to be implemented in the recent Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines?
Manuel L. Quezon III takes note of the Wall Street Journal's August 7, 2008 editorial page article by Brett M. Decker, Gloria’s Terror Gambit, which addresses the ill-fated MOA-AD which distills a number of points Philippine American Commentary has been making in a large series of posts since this all started last year when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo first broached the idea of Bangsamorostan:
In my opinion, "ANCESTRAL DOMAIN" -- is a twisted gnome of an idea in altruistic clothing with guilt-trippy psychedelic colors that emerged as the incestuous progeny of the 1997 Indigenous People's Rights Act and a December 2000 Supreme Court decision (Isagani Cruz vs. NCIP). The latter's main discursive ponencia is really a dark and scary fairy tale version of Philippine history. It begins in an idyllic, Eden-like setting where the ancient Filipinos, despite being divided into 160 recognizable tribes, lived in harmony and prosperity with nature and each other in a benign tropical paradise, until the Pacific winds and waves blew in with the Serpent of colonialism, who devilishly turns 50 of those tribes into Christianized traitors who may no longer be called indigenous peoples of the Philippines. Meanwhile, a list of 110 of them purportedly ran away into the forests and mountains where they valiantly resisted the new God of the White Men, kept up the old archipelagic ways and traditions, and are today deemed to be the genuine indigenous peoples of the Philippines who by the way own about one-third of the present territory as their private property:
First, by carving up provinces into separate Muslim and Christian enclaves, the deal would surrender any hope that Filipinos can find a way to live together and instead falls back on the myth that countrymen can live healthy “separate but equal” lives in an apartheid-like arrangement. This would undo the decade of progress toward greater political integration since former House Speaker Jose de Venecia started welcoming Muslim representatives into his ruling congressional coalition.
Second, it would increase rather than decrease the likelihood of territorial disputes because the agreement concedes to claims that the region constitutes a traditional Islamic homeland. This would likely inflame Christians, who would be kicked off of land where they have lived for decades when Muslims make claim to their legally mandated “ancestral domain.”
Third, further removing Muslims from the rest of Philippine society and enabling them to shape an entirely separate culture would encourage the separatist mentality that dreams of carving out a pan-Islamic state from other existing countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. This has been a MILF goal since its founders broke off from the Moro National Liberation Front in the 1980s after that group made peace with Manila.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for the outside world, greater Islamic independence and less Philippine control over the Islamic regions would invite even more terrorist activity in an area that already has strong ties to al Qaeda. With the deployment of U.S. Special Forces to the southern Philippines now in its seventh year, joint U.S.-Philippine operations have pacified the most lawless Muslim areas. Expanding the Islamist sphere of influence now threatens to undo this success.
"Ancestral domains and ancestral lands are the private property of indigenous peoples and do not constitute part of the land of the public domain."Some previous posts that may be useful to those studying this matter in depth are the following:
Ancestral Domain Regime of Bangsamorostan (August 14, 2007) which quotes the following alarming statement by President Arroyo to some business leaders but which most people ignored:
"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.Several analyses of the IPRA Law and the Supreme Court Decision are to be found in this series of posts:
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.
Are Ilocanos, Pampangos, Tagalogs, Batanguenos, Naguenos, Cebuanos "Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines?"
Laughable Textbook Errors in Crucial Supreme Court Decisions
Do You Think This Version of Ancient Philippine History Is Correct?
Chief Justice Puno on Terrorism--Sophomoric, Uninspiring, Self-Loathing"
Creation Myth of the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines
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