POSTSCRIPT / February 6, 2014 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Noy: MILF deal may be unconstitutional

DOUBTS: Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have admitted in writing that the Bangsamoro federal-type state that they have agreed to establish in Mindanao is, or could be, unconstitutional.

President Noynoy Aquino exposed his doubts, despite his having authorized his negotiators to sign the Framework Agreement with the MILF on Oct. 7, 2012, when he committed Malacañang to work for the amending of the Constitution if it gets in the way.

In Article VII of that agreement, the parties agreed to form a Transition Commission one of whose functions is “To work on proposals to AMEND THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION for the purpose of accommodating and entrenching in the Constitution the agreements of the Parties whenever necessary without derogating from any prior peace agreements.” (Capitalization mine – fdp)

If the President is sure his handiwork does not violate the Constitution why did he have to promise to work for possible constitutional amendment?

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TWEAK IT: When President Aquino assumed office in 2010, he took a solemn oath to “preserve and defend the Constitution.” Now he is committed to amend the Constitution when it conflicts with the Framework Agreement!

Instead of tailoring his contract with the MILF to the provisions of the Constitution, the President has agreed to tweak, to amend, the Charter to suit the wishes of the MILF!

The Framework Agreement is superior to the Constitution?

The Transition Commission mentioned, btw, shall be composed of 15 members ALL of whom must be Bangsamoro. While only seven of them are to be selected by Malacañang, the MAJORITY of eight members, including the Chairman, will be picked by the MILF.

Right off the starting block, the MILF is well ahead.

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RECOGNITION: As pointed out in previous Postscripts, the Bangsamoro as it is shaping up will have all the elements of a state needed for it to spin off at the first opportunity as a full-fledged separate entity.

The tuwid na daan (straight path) to Bangsamoro statehood is: Have the Basic Act (its Constitution) passed by the Congress, signed into law by the President, and ratified in a plebiscite – provided the Supreme Court does not butt in to trash it as unconstitutional.

Then, after the MILF is given by the Aquino administration the TERRITORY and the form of GOVERNMENT it wants, with a POPULATION already in place, the only element left for full statehood is RECOGNITION by the community of nations.

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ALLURING NOTION: Recognition is a cinch. A long line of administrations, by design or out of ignorance, has internationalized what is actually a domestic conflict.

We have allowed, even invited, foreign governments and leverage institutions to meddle and tell us what to do. Now it seems we can no longer move freely.

The notion of self-determination of peoples is alluring. It is popular in the United Nations swarming with newly emerged states.

A free Bangsamoro is made more saleable amid claims that Muslims in this dominantly Christian country have been victims of neglect and discrimination for decades.

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FOREIGN BACKUP: In fact, even before they could examine more closely the Framework Agreement and its implications, many countries have already signaled their approval.

Some of them even assisted as midwives in the birth of the Bangsamoro, stood as padrinos at its baptism, and are waiting in readiness to assist and nurture it to full development.

Among these countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Norway, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Libya, Indonesia, and the European Union. That is more than enough for world recognition!

Already helping along are international non-government organizations such as Conciliation Resources, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Asia Foundation, Muhamadiyah, the World Bank and other entities in the US sphere of influence.

This formidable foreign backup may be one reason why, on the Bangsamoro issue, President Aquino often gives us the impression that he is under pressure. One morning, he should tell his people.

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TOP ARTIST: Seventy-five years ago this month, Capampangan painterVicente Alvarez Dizon put the Philippines proudly on the world map of art by winning first place in the international art competition in the 1939 San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition in California.

A book on Dizon, who topped Spain’s Salvador Dali (second place), France’s Maurice Utrillo (no place) and an American painter (third place), will be launched at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the Holy Angel University in Angeles City.

The 130-page tribute titled “After The Day’s Toil” was written by Dizon’s artist-daughter Josie DIzon Henson. In it, she recounts how his masterpiece put the artist and the Philippines in the spotlight at the Golden Gate exposition on Feb. 19, 1939.

The exposition celebrated the inauguration of San Francisco’s two new bridges — the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (1936) and the Golden Gate Bridge (1937).

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WINNING WORK: Dizon’s painting captures a rustic scene showing a Filipino family returning from the field in contentment after a hard day’s labor. He painted it in 1936 as a graduation thesis for his art studies at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

The art contest, highlighting America’s openness to the world, was sponsored by International Business Machines Corp. There were entries from 79 countries. An IBM representative visiting the Philippines in 1938 saw the painting in the artist’s studio, bought it and shipped it to the US for the competition.

The masterpiece went missing from 1952 to 2004, when the artist’s family learned that a Filipino cardiologist based in New Jersey had acquired it from a New York gallery in the late 1980s.

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MULTI-TALENTED: Dizon specialized in painting, mural decoration, art education, composition, and museum administration. He introduced the art of finger painting, traveling to the provinces to popularize the technique.

During the last Pacific war, he secretly recorded war scenes in 30 dramatic paintings, a collection he later dubbed “From Japanese Invasion to American Liberation, As My Brush Saw It.” He wrote two books, “Art Education and Appreciation” and “Living As An Art.”

Josie Dizon Henson, his daughter, is a professional artist who graduated from the University of Santo Tomas. She has traveled extensively, recording her impressions on canvas in still lifes, landscapes and portraits. She is married to Dr. Ruben G. Henson, by whom she has four children.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of February 6, 2014)

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