Federalism, a flawed prescription

Failed governance gave birth to the MILF. Vested interests, cunning and deceit produced the MOA-AD with MILF. The MOA-AD resulted in the present bloody and costly Mindanao conflict.

RA 8371 entitled “The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997” recognized the AD problem and prescribed measures to address it, but because of dismal implementation by both ERAP and Gloria, tribal groups continued to be the embodiment of government neglect or apathy. Certain Moros took advantage of their discontent and unrest and organized the MILF whose main mission is to take back their ancestral domain. AD is not just about lands. It is also about heritage and a government that existed even before Spain ceded the Philippines to the Americans. This government and their territories were not part of that deal. That the GRP acknowledges this bit of history is evident in the MOA-AD draft that both parties were supposed to “formally” sign at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The agreement was simply about giving back to the Moros what was rightfully theirs. PGMA hailed the accord at her recent SONA.

Unfortunately, the terms and conditions in the paper clashed with reality. The lands referred to are no longer the wilderness that it used to be. The government referred to by the MILF no longer exists. A large majority of its present occupants do not belong to the Moro tribe. And their allegiance is to the Republic of the Philippines, not to an armed band that claims to speak for a government that has long been consigned to the archives of history. To begin with, it was a mistake for the GRP to hold dialogs with the MILF. What for? The MILF demands were clear and unyielding from the start. And the GRP definitely has no power to yield to such demands. The MILF used the negotiating table to reconsolidate its strength, after President ERAP broke it in his time. The government used it to maintain a semblance of peace, or a commitment to it. All’s well that appeared well! Until…

PGMA appointed a military man to head the GRP peace panel, and suddenly the stalemate was broken. An accord was finally reached. Alas though it apparently was not a product of give and take, but of total surrender. Hearings by the Supreme Court showed that the MOA-AD is indefensible. The Solicitor General defends by saying that the government will no longer sign the MOA-AD in any form while insisting in going on with the dialog with the MILF! It was exposed as plain stupidity or recklessness, but some saw through it all a crude attempt to bring about a cha-cha that would make way for Gloria’s extended stay in the palace. It is not too far fetched to imagine that the GRP panel foresaw what would happen after the public learned of the contents of the MOA.

Again, failed governance gave rise to a determined group who offer federalism as a permanent solution to the conflict. It is its way of saying that Local Autonomy failed. It did not bother to see why it failed, and what could possibly be done to make it work.  It simply issued an invitation to an expensive and dangerous exercise in futility.  There is no way voters would approve of more Senators, Congressmen and bureaucracies. Federalism promises to solve the AD problem by complicating it! The system would integrate two or more indigenous people in a State, and then start thinking of ways to attend to it. It would abandon a simple and doable procedure in favor of a solution that has yet to be studied and legitimized!

The short term remedy would be to run after the criminals and maintain peace and order. The long-term process is to go to individual tribes and attend to their problems guided by RA 8371. An act of genuine concern for the welfare of the less privileged will never be too late particularly since it would also benefits similarly deprived settlers in adjoining communities. Also, divide and rule. He! He!

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2 Responses to “Federalism, a flawed prescription”

  1. Cocoy's Delight Says:

    Her objective is to maneuver to stay beyond 2010. Charter change for now appears to be the preferred mechanism for allowing Arroyo to retain power through a shift to a federal-parliamentary government. She is clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. she have repeatedly violated the Constitution.She have transgressed national law. She had lied to the people time after time. Her conduct and her barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly “high crimes and misdemeanors,” to use the constitutional standard. From the beginning, Gloria assumption to power was the product of questionable Constituitional violation and the Dagdag Bawas of Garci was a questionable elections that probably should have been challenged.

    Our Country today is in a serious Constitutional crisis. The Senators and Congressman should be willing to take some political risks to honor, protect, and defend the Constitution. (It is, after all, their oath of office.) If we allow Arroyo to succeed in permanently altering the balance of powers between the branches, the Constitution will become a dead letter.

  2. Cocoy's Delight Says:

    Her objective is to maneuver to stay beyond 2010. Charter change for now appears to be the preferred mechanism for allowing Arroyo to retain power through a shift to a federal-parliamentary government. She is clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. she have repeatedly violated the Constitution.She have transgressed national law. She had lied to the people time after time. Her conduct and her barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly “high crimes and misdemeanors,” to use the constitutional standard. From the beginning, Gloria assumpt power was the product of questionable Constituitional violation and the Dagdag Bawas of Garci was a questionable elections that probably should have been challenged.

    Our Country today is in a serious Constitutional crisis. The Senators and Congressman should be willing to take some political risks to honor, protect, and defend the Constitution. (It is, after all, their oath of office.) If we allow Arroyo to succeed in permanently altering the balance of powers between the branches, the Constitution will become a dead letter.

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