MILF, Kato bound to be rendered irrelevant | Inquirer Opinion

MILF, Kato bound to be rendered irrelevant

09:20 PM October 07, 2011

It’s time for the secessionist fronts to come to terms with the government in the protracted negotiations for peace settlement. The Aquino administration has drawn a comprehensive framework of how to transition the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to one which would dovetail with the aspirations of the Filipino Muslims.

The symptoms of weariness among Muslim communities over the long drawn-out peace process have started to emerge in the form of in-fighting among themselves. The basic aspiration of Filipino Muslims is no different from lumad and Christians: an atmosphere of peace and the realization of their yearning for a piece of land to farm, a land which they can call their own.

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The clashes these days are no longer triggered by political conflicts; they are spawned by disagreements—between clans, cousins, brothers and sisters—over lands claimed by feudal warlords who have no titles to them.

Like in other Middle Eastern and African countries, Filipino Muslims, long held in traditional and ancient fiefdoms and by warlords who rule with the help of foreign terrorist organizations, are now emerging from silence and isolation. They have seen the fall of once seemingly invincible monarchs and the rise of enlightened masses who want to be free from the banality of feudalism.

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If absolute rulers fall, it will not be long before the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the renegade Ameril Umra Kato become irrelevant. In the meantime, they can start drawing a more meaningful and significant plan. If we are to suggest, start with the root cause of the conflict, which is agrarian-based, by seeing to it that the lands that are being tilled by our brother Muslim Filipinos and those that are held by warlords be equitably subdivided and titled to those who rightfully own them.

And then, introduce reforms in the institutions of the ARMM government. This is a herculean task given the experience from the past, when those who governed considered these institutions as mere extensions of their fiefdoms, and the citizens of the region their subservient vassals. The season of discontent, blended with a dash of enlightenment, has spread across the continents, the ARMM included.

—RINA DE JESUS,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Government, letters, MILF, peace process, secessionist forces
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