Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro: Will it bring genuine peace in the conflict torn Mindanao

Finally, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will be signed, I hope it will, as promised will bring the most desired peace in Mindanao, and not a dangerous precedent, that other rebel groups may follow-strengthen, fight the state and it will negotiate with you… I hope history will not repeat itself, as in the case of MNLF that during the signing of the FPA in 1996, MILF splintered, initially declared as a bandit group but as it grew stronger government shifted its negotiating table with the group and declared the 1996 peace accord as a failure, now here comes MILF CAB signing, and a new group splintered the BIFF, I hope the fate of MILF will not follow that of MNLF otherwise there will always be a new group and a new negotiation.

I just hope also that such will not inspire the genuine first nations of the Cordilleras, the Kalingas etc. to demand such status as now awarded to the MILF, for MILF has no greater claim as a first nation than that of the people of Cordillera who came ahead of them. Or if the claim was that they were never subjugated by the colonial Spaniards, then more so that we people of Batanes may also demand such status, for mother Spain was never interested in annexing us, stating that we are but an expensive endeavor, only if not upon the insistence of the Dominicans. More so, Batanes was not included in the longitude/latitude designation of the territory ceded to the US by the Treaty of Paris.

I hope this will bring genuine peace, and at the same time national unity, but should never end up like Kosovo unilaterally declaring its independence, or like that of Crimea, I hope Bangsamoro will not later on call for a referendum, inquiring whether they would stay part of the Philippines or became federated with Malaysia so that finally the land of the moros in Mindanao and that of Sabah will once again be unified not under Philippine Jurisdiction but under Malaysian leadership, whom GRP trusted as disinterested 3rd party facilitator despite the fact that it actively supported the rebels not only in providing weapons but in providing elite military trainings.

I hope this peace will bring tangible benefits, to the Lumads who are the real first nation of Southern Philippines, who are often the casualties of these decades of conflict.

I hope and pray that every party to this peace will stay true to the spirit of this peace agreement, searching for measures efficient unto the people, but never towards the disintegration of this pearl of the orient, for like a pearl it is precious and valuable only when whole but never when splintered…

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