Quest for lasting peace (6)
IN retrospect , the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 1990 brought cosmetic glee to all Muslim Filipinos within the new region’s territorial components, i.e., Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.
ARMM was PARTIAL relief.
A good enough or ‘better-than-nothing’ arrangement while the MNLF continued to negotiate for real territorial independence for the Bangsamoro people.
Partial, since the Bangsamoro’s demand for full autonomy and self-governance was anchored on the establishment of the Bangsamoro SUB-STATE!
Unfortunately (from the viewpoint of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines peace panel), this “sub-state” thing happens to be THE non-negotiable issue as it requires dismemberment of a portion of the Philippine Territory, which is violative of the Constitution and existing substantive laws, notably the Administrative Code of the Republic of the Philippines.
Grapevine has it that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is partial to the idea of a Charter Change or Chacha by constitutional convention, but has been dissuaded by political advisers from giving it the green light because this sub-state issue in the peace negotiations might suddenly spring as the inevitable focal/dominant proposed amendment.
Anyway, for two decades, ARMM was recipient of billions of pesos in monetary aid from the government, as well as projects funded by international agencies of note, like the United Nations Development Programme, United States for International Development and Australian AID.
The result of such beneficence and aid infusions turned out to be unexpectedly horrible. The ARMM experiment – like Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s – produced political monsters from emerging powerful clans passing national leaderships had to spoil in material favors to ensure their continued stay in the apex of political power. (To be continued)