War makes good money.
Or at least, some people in Muslim Mindanao seem to think so.
I mean, honestly: I doubt it if anyone would like to live by the gun every single day -- unless he/she can profit from it.
This is probably the ultimate reason why fighting in Muslim Mindanao continues up to now. Several enterprising individuals out there are benefiting greatly from this strife. It is no longer a question of ancestral domain, ideology, or religion: at the end of the day, it all boils down to money.
Let us look at present circumstances: government forces and leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were so close, so close to signing an agreement that would possibly end the conflict on ancestral domain. Yes, the MOA was a bit -- no, very sketchy, considering that several of its key features were created outside the framework of the Philippine Constitution. This is on top of complaints issued by residents of several areas to be covered by what is supposed to be called the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) that they were not given prior consultation before this said MOA was drafted. Nonetheless, this MOA by the government and the MILF was supposed to be one genuine step toward lasting peace in Mindanao.
Then suddenly, renegade forces of the MILF decide to storm into several towns in Maguindanao and Lanao del Norte, ruthlessly killing civilians and/or using them as human shields, ransacking commercial areas and residences, and ambushing military troops.
Heartless, trigger-happy pigs who think with their balls and guns...mga leche kayo, lumaban kayo ng patas!
What appalls me more is that the MILF Central Command is apparently coddling these traitorous creatures, making no move to restrain their ranks. When asked by media on why such attacks were undertaken, they rationalized that some of their men were already getting restless due to delays in the signing of the MOA.
Under all the euphemisms being mouthed by MILF leaders, the crux of the matter is that they are simply finding a license to loot and kill -- and they found it in the delayed MOA signing.
Why don't we just cut through all this bullshit and see things for what they really are? The MILF doesn't give a hoot for peace. They don't care much for ancestral domain either. Poor Allah would turn in his resting place if these terrorists even mentioned religion as their cause.
At the heart of it all, it's money that keeps the MILF at war. If the MOA was signed by the Chief Executive, then there would be no cause for seizing whole villages and pillaging homes. The firearms business will die because armed struggle will be a thing of the past. What kind of reason would these bandits provide to rationalize any of their attempts to take hostages again? There will be nothing to fight for because of the ensuing peace in Mindanao.
The end of the war would certainly be bad for business.
On the side of government, I am disappointed that they acted haphazardly with regard to the drafting of the MOA with the MILF Central Command. Instead of drafting something that would bring Mindanao closer to the rest of the Philippines after years of political and economic alienation, they come up with an accord that could further isolate Mindanao, making it a "state within a state."
The said MOA calls for the creation of the BJE. Under this, the group of provinces under its jurisdiction will have a free hand in creating its own system of laws, political leaders, and governance. This accord even calls for oversight and maintenance of the BJE's own natural resources.
Technically, the creation of the BJE is tantamount to the creation of a federalist system of government, and this is not allowed under the present Philippine Constitution. Thus, with this MOA in mind, several members among our "esteemed" congressmen are once again calling for charter change.
The more observant among our political personalities, as well as several civil society groups, saw right through this ploy and are now in arms against it. Probably the most prominent among these anti-ChaCha advocates is my crush and opposition spokesman Adel Tamano who is a Muslim himself. Despite the promised benefits that the MOA can give to his fellow Muslims, he noted that it was only used as a coffer for the present administration's alleged grand scheme to extend Pres. Gloria Arroyo's term of office and to do away with the Senate.
However, with the recent spate of violence in the South, even the president is distancing herself from discussions pertaining to the MOA signing. She has, in fact, already made known her intention not to sign the said agreement.
So, to sum it all up, the MOA for the creation of the BJE is as good as dead, peace talks between government forces and the MILF are on shaky ground, and Lord knows how many more civilians will be butchered by MILF bandits.
It's just going to be another regular war-torn day in Muslim Mindanao.
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