Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This article came out in the Business Mirror on August 20,2008, page A6.

Retrograde: “directed or moving backward; reverting to an earlier and inferior condition.”

Retrofit: “an act of adding a component or accessory to something that did not have it when manufactured.”

– New Oxford American Dictionary

At his press briefing last week, Secretary Eduardo Ermita assured everyone that a final peace agreement with the MILF will be under a “totality clause” that will say, “[A]ny conflict in the interpretation of this agreement shall be within the light of the Constitution of the Philippines and existing laws.”

He meant he hopes our Constitution will be retrofitted to accommodate a new type of state, one with two central banks, two armed forces, two police forces, two Comelecs, and two Supreme Courts among other symptoms of national schizophrenia. Ermita’s hope will realize Gloria Arroyo’s nightmare vision of two Philippines.

Well, we do have the right to tinker with our Constitution, as often as we want and for whatever reason we choose, be it to extend Gloria Arroyo’s term, to appease a band of rebels, or to dismember our country without regard to its cost.  Stupidity is still not illegal in this country.

Remember when the Supreme Court said there are some “US$840 billion worth of mineral wealth lying hidden in the ground” that should be mined for the benefit of all Filipinos, present and future?

A map of the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) highlighting all the potential minerals lying hidden in the ground will show how much of the Filipino people’s wealth will be transferred by the Arroyo administration to the MILF.
Another map, with all the agricultural lands within the BJE, will show how the Arroyo administration is placing the Philippines at the mercy of the MILF.

“To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we must become more self-reliant, self-sufficient and independent, relying on ourselves more than on the world,” said Gloria Arroyo in her 2008 SONA.

If the BJE comes to pass, we will be buying rice and other food from the MILF. Importing would be a better word because BJE will become a part of “the world” and  the MILF will have yet another tool for the expansion of Moroland back to its pre-Spanish boundaries.

Why did the Arroyo government agree to the MILF’s self-serving historical timeline?

Islam is no more indigenous than Christianity. The Spaniards were not our first colonizers. Luwaran, the MILF website, does not deny that Moros are products of an earlier colonization:

“Ameen (Secretary General of the MILF Central Committee) recalled that the history of the Moros and IPs (indigenous people) is one and inseparable, but noted that the former were always the ‘bigger brother’ while the latter [was] the ‘younger brother.’”  Moros “have developed a higher plane of political existence” than Lumads because they converted to Islam and adopted the sultanate system.

In that same SONA, Gloria Arroyo lamented that although Mindanao was a food basket  “it has some of the highest hunger in our nation.” For this sad state of affairs, she blamed “the endless Mindanao conflict.” Her solution to ending the endless conflict was to capitulate to the MILF.

Arroyo knows the BJE does not fit into the 1987 Constitution so she asked Congress “to act on the legislative and political reforms that will lead to a just and lasting peace during our term of office.”

Unfortunately, a “just and lasting peace”  through a refitting of the BJE into our Constitution won’t be possible during or after her term of office.

There will be conflicts between the Lumads and the MILF, between Christians and the MILF, between Manila and the MILF over jurisdiction, ownership of lands, mineral rights, natural resources, and a host of other irritants that come from drawing lines on a map without regards for its inhabitants.

There will be power struggles among self- appointed Moro leaders – the Maranao-dominated MILF, the Tausog- dominated MNLF, and the traditional politicians of Mindanao – over control of the BJE.

“Better talk than fight, if nothing of sovereign value is anyway lost,” counseled Gloria Arroyo in her SONA.

Unfortunately, talking nonsense will lead to loss not only of sovereign value but also, and more importantly, of property. And for that most people will fight to the death.