POSTSCRIPT / April 26, 2015 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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Plebiscite question: Join Malaysia or Phl?

WOULD you rather be Malaysian?

To cut the annoying BS on the Bangsamoro, why don’t we just pose right off that final killer question in a plebiscite in the Muslim-dominated areas of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MinSuPala)?

• If the majority says Yes, then let us approve sight unseen the original draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and accelerate the fulfillment of that wish of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for the targeted MinSuPala areas to join the Malaysian federation.

• If the majority says No, then drop everything, including the contrived BBL public consultations, and let this country return to normalcy – meaning the masa still struggling to eke out a living and politicians continuing to amass wealth and power.

Then if we vote Yes and still have enough strength left after the amputation, let us sign with the new federal Bangsamoro state a treaty to leave each other in peace.

If Yes wins in the plebiscite, let us not go through that ruse of creating first a new Bangsamoro. Deliver the new MILF-run nation-state straight to their Malaysian confederates instead of later watching events carry it to the waiting arms of Kuala Lumpur.

Let all true Filipinos who choose to stay save and reconsolidate the rest of the Republic under a more competent and patriotic president.

The two chambers of the Congress should wake up and cut the BS. They should not allow themselves to be a party to the eventual dismembering of our nation by falling for the trick of passing through an intermediate Bangsamoro stage.

Gaano man kahaba ang prusisyon ng Bangsamoro, hahantung din siya sa KL. This is so, because we do not have a president and enough senators and congressmen who are patriotic enough to step in the way of the ongoing procession.

Emotional terms planted in BBL

BY REVIEWING the basic documents, including the Comprehensive and the Framework Agreements and the original BBL draft, any literate and wide-awake member of the Congress will spot the time bombs planted all over the text.

Is the Congress, backed by a doting President Noynoy Aquino, aware that the legislature is actually writing the Constitution of the upcoming Bangsamoro nation-state, a forerunner of a likely secessionist state on its way to joining the Malaysian federation?

The plotters will never tell us who drafted the basic documents. Surely it could not have been the varsity team sent by President Aquino to negotiate with the tough-talking MILF. I would not be surprised if the working drafts of the MILF were written/edited in Kuala Lumpur.

We are just talking here of the terms slyly used, not yet about the substantive provisions.

We are asking about authorship, because the text is replete such sensitive phrases as “right to self-determination” of peoples, the Moros’ “distinct historical identity”, the “birthright of the Bangsamoro people”, “genuine and meaningful self-governance”, et cetera.

There is a plaintive recollection of how the Moros had resisted and triumphed over attempts of Spanish and American colonizers and even the alleged moves of the Manila central government to discriminate against them.

The injection of these emotional elements helps justify a breakaway state from the persecution by central government agencies. It evokes the sympathy of foreign Muslim states.

The terms happen to find resonance in a great number of United Nations members that had emerged themselves from similar conditions of oppression.

PH to lose if BBL put to UN vote

AFTER acknowledging these unfair conditions in documents that its own Congress and President had approved, the Philippine government will lose if and when the issue of self-determination is put to a vote in the UN.

If Malacañang thinks the United States will help, it is mistaken. The US will go with the United Kingdom – reminiscent of the US and UK conspiring in 1963 to annex the Philippine-claimed North Borneo (renamed Sabah) to the new Malaysian federation.

Even before the self-governance issue is brought before the UN, the Philippines would have lost on the world stage – after it had unwittingly internationalized the domestic question of an ethnic minority claiming neglect and persecution.

The MILF has seen to the inclusion in the BBL documents of references to their having been victims of alleged neglect. (But so have other ethnic groups and poor regions been neglected without their having to be spun off as separate nation-states.)

At this point, with President Aquino stampeding his allies in the Congress to approve the BBL, we are tempted to ask – pardon our impolite question — if the President knows where he is leading the country.

Having started off with the wrong foot – his not observing protocol on prior consultations and credentials, his careless use of sensitive terms, and allowing foreigners will ulterior agenda to influence the flow of events – how can President Aquino slow down or step on the brake now that danger looms?

While we may grant that the President has been aware of the risks, he miscalculated on the timetable and his control of events, including the unfortunate Mamasapano massacre of Jan. 25 that he mishandled before, during and after the incident.

Was the President tripped by his obsession with legacy and driven by a personal timetable to snatch prized peace trophies before his final State of the Nation Address on July 27 this year and before stepping down on June 30, 2016?

(First published in the Philippine STAR of April 26, 2015)

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