Words of a man whose beating sparked riots; and, really, we have to ask: why can’t we just get along?
It seems strange to me that we would need a peace agreement to obligate ourselves to be nice to one another. I would have thought it should have been natural for us to treat each other decently, humanely, with all the laws we already have in place. So, what are we doing in Mindanao?
Well, one side says they’re fighting oppression — and choosing to revolt as its solution — while the other side is supposed to be preserving peace and order naturally resulting in conflict and violence. The thing is however, that’s not the case in all of Mindanao. There are areas in Mindanao where Muslims and Christians live harmoniously despite, I suppose, the “oppression” by the Government. There are also Muslims living in and around Manila who have lived peacefully for years, generations even. The question, therefore, is what makes this group special? Is it because they have taken up the gun against the State? Is that enough?
It’s not that the Philippines hasn’t been here before. Once upon a time, the Government was fighting a war with the MNLF, who wanted to create an independent Muslim State in Mindanao. Years later, when the MNLF started talking peace with the Government, the MILF broke off from the MNLF and started their own war for independence. The Government gave the MNLF ARMM but with the MILF already out there, peace remained elusive. Now, the Government is talking peace with the MILF, guess what? Yes, there’s a new group out there fighting for independence: the BIFF! Where will all this end?
Even if the Government and the rest of the Philippines gave the MILF their Bangsamoro, which by the way will also do away with the old ARMM of the MNLF and kinda sidelines the MNLF, there’s still the problem of the BIFF out there; and judging by what happened in Mamasapano, the problem is a big one.
So, the real question in all this is are we even talking to the right people? Make no mistake: WE NEED PEACE IN MINDANAO, but are we on the right path to that peace. What do we gain by making peace with the MILF when the BIFF is still out there? If Mamasapano is any indication of how the MILF will run the Bangsamoro, then one wonders what might go on in the Bangsamoro.
Are we on the right path to peace, or are we just buying time? What are we doing? Indeed, can’t we all just get along?