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Analysis Moro homeland pact becomes a ticking bomb By Amando Doronila Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 02:0

:00 0!"##"200! Most $ead Other Most Read Stories% Close this MA&I'A( Philippines)*hen the +upreme ,ourt stopped the signing on Aug- . o/ the dra/t agreement seeking to establish an e%panded Bangsamoro homeland( Mohagher Iqbal( chie/ negotiator o/ the Moro Islamic 'iberation Front( said that the last0minute cancellation made it clear to the international community that 1the Philippine go2ernment does not possess the capability o/ entering into a peace con/erence-3 4he abortion o/ the e2ent became a diplomatic embarrassment as Ambassador 5ristie 5enney o/ the 6nited +tates( Ambassador +ayed 7lm Masry o/ the 8rgani9ation o/ the Islamic ,on/erence( together :ith Ambassadors Makoto 5atsura o/ ;apan and $oderick +mith o/ Australia( had assembled in 5uala 'umpur to :itness the signingAs key stakeholders in the peace process in Mindanao( the presence o/ the diplomats signi/ied the blessings o/ their respecti2e countries to the agreement and implicit recognition o/ the pact- 4hey :ere there to accord legitimacy to the agreementIqbal<s remark may ha2e told the truth o/ the political capacity o/ the Philippine go2ernment( but it also underscored the MI'F<s contempt /or constitutional processes( :hich the memorandum o/ agreement =M8A> on ancestral domain stayed by the high court<s temporary restraining order =4$8>( ga2e short shri/t as the de/ining /rame:ork o/ the proposed Bangsamoro homeland and( indeed( o/ the political settlement o/ the ?00year0old separatist :ar :aged by the MI'F-

$e/lecting this contempt( the MI'F<s 2ice chair /or political a//airs( @had9ali ;aa/ar( maintained that the M8A :as a 1done deal3 and had become binding a/ter it :as initialed by the go2ernment and MI'F peace panels on ;uly 2A*hat is more insulting is his remark that the 4$8 :as 1purely an internal3 problem o/ the go2ernment( implying that the MI'F does not recogni9e :hate2er the court decides on the issues raised by local o//icials protesting the inclusion o/ their municipalities in the e%panded Bangsamoro homeland4hus( the MI'F has ser2ed notice that the court<s decision :ould not be binding to them4he 4$8 re2eals not only the political capacity o/ the go2ernment to en/orce a peace package but also o/ the :eakness o/ the e%ecuti2e department to bring into line counter2ailing departments)such as the Budiciary and legislati2e)behind its diplomatic initiati2esDangerous mind-set It is a reasonable assumption that the court :as a:are o/ these o//ensi2e remarks o/ MI'F leaders and their implications /or the system o/ checks and balances underpinning Philippine democracy- In issuing the 4$8( the court :as sending the message that this principle :as not suspended by the M8A4hese remarks o/ the MI'F rebels re2eal a dangerous mind0set on the issues o/ the political capacity o/ the go2ernment to enter into binding agreements and o/ the primacy o/ the ,onstitution4hey represent the land mines that the negotiations ha2e to tread :hen the talks are resumed in Malaysia in the last t:o :eeks o/ August4hese issues /oreshado: that the M8A has set back the negotiations /urther a:ay /rom a settlement than :here they :ere be/ore the M8A :as initialed by the opposing panels- 4he

re2elation o/ the details o/ the M8A on the e2e o/ scheduled signing a/ter the go2ernment kept the agreement in secret /or a long time is /ortunateIt re2ealed not only the antidemocratic mind0set o/ the MI'F but also its contempt /or and hostility to constitutional niceties- It pro2oked the timely inter2ention o/ the +upreme ,ourt4he inter2ention /orced up the sur/ace the hidden issues o/ the agreement- 4he petitions by the protesting parties against the agreement e%posed it to scrutiny /or its transparencyNegotiated land grab I/ the M8A had not been re2ealed in time( no one :ould ha2e had the slightest idea that the area a:arded by the memorandum to the e%panded homeland represented the biggest negotiated land grab o/ national territory to a separatist group in the country<s history4he M8A added A00 2illages in the pro2inces o/ +ultan 5udarat( 'anao del &orte( and &orth ,otabato( including parts o/ Pala:an( to the area o/ the Autonomous $egion in Muslim Mindanao to make up the e%panded Bangsamoro homeland4he M8A pictured the mutilation o/ Mindanao areas in the redistribution o/ territories to e%pand the Bangsamoro homeland- 4he dismantling :as done in such a :ay that it appalled local residents*hen the mayor o/ Iligan ,ity un/olded to his constituents in an emergency meeting a map sho:ing that eight out o/ the city<s ?? barangays :ould be absorbed by the proposed Bangsamoro ;uridical 7ntity( the city residents( :ho :ere ne2er consulted about the partition( :ere shocked to learn that the ?? 2illages comprised !2 percent o/ the city<s territory4he city erupted in protest- 4his illustrated the deceit/ul( let

alone( the secreti2e :ay the redistribution :as carried outInflammatory issues 4he unrest unleashed by the M8A o2er the territorial grab( the grant o/ s:eeping po:ers that ha2e the main elements o/ a so2ereign state outside the compass o/ the Philippine ,onstitution has undermined the capacity o/ the Arroyo administration to deli2er a peace pactInstead( the M8A has become a package o/ 4&4( containing enough in/lammatory issues that can easily ignite a ne: e%plosion in Mindanao- In its haste to conclude the pact( the administration has inherited a ticking time bomb-

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