Elusive peace in Mindanao

posted January 30, 2019 at 12:50 am
by  Emil Jurado
"There remain many challenges."


After the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law creating the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in place of the ARMM, President Rodrigo Duterte led many to believe that unity and peace, and then development, would finally come to Mindanao.

But there are doubts. Many issues still have to be addressed. Foremost is the presence of ISIS-inspired rebel groups, like the Abu Sayyaf which holds sway over Sulu and Basilan.

And then, aside from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, there are other groups like the Maute terrorists. And don’t forget the New People’s Army.

Those deadly blasts at a Jolo church were just an example of terrorist acts. Whether or not it was related to the BOL plebiscite should not bother Duterte, the military, and the police. These terror groups have already made their presence known. What matters is where they

might strike next. That’s now the job of military and police intelligence.

There are other factors that make unity, peace and development elusive as ever. Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front would not be part of the BARMM. To me, it’s a big mistake to exclude it. History, culture and tradition among Muslims tell us that among the Maranaos (traders) in the Lanao provinces and the Maguindanaoans (farmers) in the Cotabato provinces, the Tausugs, of which Misuari and his MNLF belong, can never live with the Maranaos. To the Maranaos and the Maguindanaoans, the Tausugs are pirates.

Santa Banana, why do you think the MILF broke away from the MNLF? This kind of enmity cannot be just eradicated by a law like the BOL.

This is why many are pessimistic about peace.

* * *

President Duterte’s reported trust and satisfaction in ex-Customs Commissioner and now TESDA director general Isidro Lapeña can easily be explained. To the President, retired military officers are honest. They follow orders without question. This is why he has packed his Cabinet with retired generals.

At best, Lapeña is incompetent. Remember the billions of pesos worth of shabu that got into the ports under his watch? I now wonder what has happened to President Duterte’s promise that he would remove officials if they had so much as a whiff of corruption around them. Well, this is more than a whiff!

And yet, the President fired former Chief of Staff Dionisio Santiago, then chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, for criticizing the multi-million peso drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija.

* * *

I must give it to Bong Go, the President’s favorite senatorial candidate, for appealing almost daily on newspapers. Malacañang insiders tell me that Go has hired a big advertising agency. The agency has a big advertising account in well-known brands of cars.


My gulay, Bong Go must have spent a lot of money already! The Commission on Elections should start monitoring his expenses. I think Go’s candidacy will be a test for the President.

* * *

Barangay officials have invented a new gimmick to earn money for local and national candidates this coming election.

Because they know their respective communities, they sell no less than a thousand votes to anyone who can pay the price. These officials also provide crowds during sorties. The candidates pay for the food and transport of the people.

This is why I say that if you are a candidate and don’t have the money, you should just forget about winning.

* * *

The forthcoming movie of former PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa must be stopped. This will violate election rules. You have to wonder, though: Where did he get the funding for a movie starring a popular action star like Robin Padilla? Just asking.


Topics: Bangsamoro Organic Law , Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao , Bong Go , Ronald dela Rosa , Rodrigo Duterte , Isidro Lapeña , Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
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